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Emily Henderson

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by Emily Henderson
Em At Goop

Turns out being a privileged white woman critiquing or defending a brand who’s demographic is other privileged white women is a lose lose.

Or perhaps, it’s exactly someone like me calling out someone else like me that needs to be happening more.

Yesterday, we published a post with all my thoughts and feelings on Goop and Gwyneth Paltrow, especially in light of my recent attendance of the “In Goop Health” wellness summit. Early on in the day, I decided to pull back the post, not because of the onslaught of negative comments, but more because it made me want to spend some more time and self-reflect on what I wrote. It wasn’t fully flushed out and I kinda knew it, but honestly was too slammed to work on it more. I’ve never unpublished a story but let me be clear, it was not me “letting the bullies win” more so than me wanting to make sure I was saying what I really wanted to say. So consider this a TAKE 2. I’m not changing what I originally wrote (besides a few little edits here and there that I would have made anyway had I spent a little more time on the draft prior to publishing), but I did want to address some of what you called me out on as well as add more thoughts about what prematurely publishing this post led me to realize about myself and my company. So, if you missed the post yesterday morning, keep reading for the whole thing. If you did read it, then feel free to scroll to the end and see what I have to add.

Alright, here’s the original post as it ran yesterday:


“No one is more controversial, polarizing even, amongst women (and many men) as Gwyneth Paltrow and her brand Goop. I know this post might inflame some (a lot) of you—even a mention of Goop in our Sunday links post gets some of you going—but over the course of several years, as a follower of the site and now, after attending this year’s “In Goop Health” health summit, I’ve gone through a bit of a “it’s fine, it’s problematic, it’s good” roller coaster in terms of my stance on it (the brand, not Gwyneth herself, keep reading).

Fair warning that this post is looooong. I have a lot to say here. And while I promise to get to my actual review (and criticisms) of the summit in case you guys are wondering what that THOUSAND DOLLAR ticket buys you, first, I need to take you on my GP + Goop journey to help you understand my thought process about it all.

First off, let’s talk about Gwyneth Paltrow. I’ve gotten into so many heated debates that have ended in arguments not because I feel so passionately about ol’ Gwynnie, but because I think that most of the dislike/distaste for her comes out of close-mindedness, judgement and jealousy, and that’s a trigger for me. I’ve found that my friends who can’t stand her or her brand haven’t ever even gone to Goop.com, certainly haven’t listened to the podcast, and instead, are just reacting to a persona that the media is trashing because of her privilege. Do I agree with everything she’s ever done or said? Of course not. But she’s also just a mom, businesswoman and writer trying to put forth some progressive ideas that aren’t for everyone though meant to be helpful and generally positive. Sure, she was born and raised wealthy and has aspired to turn her career as an actor into a lifestyle brand; people take issue with this, although they would probably never do this for a man.

To be honest I was on board with her from the start even though I couldn’t relate to her (at the time I wasn’t her demographic—when I started following her I was broke and even when I had a TV show, I couldn’t have afforded anything from her gift guide). But I thought she did what she did really well. She found a hole in the market and she filled it, beautifully (her cookbooks were good, her travel guides were beautiful). Did I make the recipes or go to those countries? No, but I thought she did a great job at speaking to her audience and I liked watching. She wasn’t putting garbage out there, but her product wasn’t for everyone. It was (maybe unintentionally) exclusive, and mostly for wealthy women which is inherently alienating. And when someone feels alienated it’s much easier to be angry or dismissive. So I understood where these negative feelings were coming from.

How I saw it though, was like this: if you don’t like her, you don’t have to buy her product or read her content. Goop isn’t for you so just move on. But I also know it’s not actually that simple or straight-forward.

My largest shift in opinion though, happened a few years ago when I found myself turned off by what I was seeing on the Goop site. The fear-based marketing that they were doing at the time had been bugging me for a while, and then one day, an article from Goop with a headline similar to “Are you poisoning your future baby with these toxins?” popped up into my Facebook feed.

I can’t find the article now so full disclosure that might be an exaggeration, but it was inflammatory and the definition of fear-based click bait. I think I was likely pregnant at the time and got pissed. Women are already riddled with guilt about what they are putting in their bodies while pregnant and breastfeeding, now I need to feel guilty about the things I might have put in my body (and thus the future fetus) even before I became pregnant?

It just went too far. I already despised fear-based marketing and was just so bummed that a female-founded company was turning it on us.

This might have been around the same time as vagina steaming. I think we all know that didn’t help her image.

But every now and then something would happen that made me remember she was a human going through human things, all while being judged under a microscope. People freaked out when she rebranded her divorce as “conscious uncoupling” (which she didn’t invent, it’s from the ’70s), I was like “HEY JERKS, SHE IS A MOM WHO IS GOING THROUGH WHAT MUST BE THE MOST PAINFUL THING IN THE WORLD and she wants to give it a positive spin for her kids and take the power away from DIVORCE.” Unfortunately, what it did was make anybody who had gotten a divorce and called it “conscious uncoupling” feel judged. (If you’re curious, listen to Dax Shepard’s podcast with her about it.)


“The general brand did start feeling like they were pressuring women to buy Moon Dust (tried it, gave me anxiety) and jade eggs.”


I kept following Gwyneth and would occasionally like some of the Goop content, but the general brand did start feeling like they were pressuring women to buy Moon Dust (tried it, gave me anxiety) and jade eggs.

To be fair, I consider myself a very open-minded and curious person and love hearing, listening and debating all new theories. When people started buying crystals, I laughed and said, “great, which ones should I get?” (turns out two experts told me the same thing—I shouldn’t carry rose quartz because I’m already too high energy and should be wearing more copper to help ground me). I honestly love this stuff because guess what guys? NOBODY REALLY KNOWS FOR ABSOLUTE CERTAIN.

Last year, my two best friends from Oregon came down to go to the Goop wellness summit, In Goop Health. Let me preface this by saying that these ladies are the most grounded, solid people I know. All of us were raised middle class, all of us have worked our asses off since college and are the dominant financial earners in our families. Do they like face cream and are curious about supplements that help detox the liver? Sure! But being that they are both in marketing, they more so admired the success of the brand and liked a lot of the wellness components and self-improvement aspects of the brand. Me, too.

If you haven’t already started screaming “BUT THE PSEUDOSCIENCE” at your device/computer, I’m getting to it. In case you don’t know what I’m talking about, the Goop has gotten some heat for promoting health and wellness techniques that some claim are pseudoscience, meaning anecdotal evidence at best and not actually founded in scientific method. Many people criticized that what they were promoting was dangerous, which was possibly true. Not everyone should be taking every supplement and certainly trendy diets can be harmful to your health. Plus, buying into anything that feels “science-y” and absolute without much—or any—backing should make your red flags go up.

That said, they’ve since shifted from this mostly, and as a follower, what I’ve noticed is that they rephrase things to be less factual and more “hey, here is a theory,” and they have employed far more scientists and functional doctors than they used to. If you are wondering what a functional doctor is, you aren’t alone. It’s a doctor with a western medical Ph.D. that focuses more on a holistic approach analyzing nutrition and lifestyle and genes in addition to bloodwork to find underlying causes of disease. It’s an absolute no brainer to me as I believe strongly that what you put in your body and your mental health effects and contributes to your physical success. After much analyzing, here is how I stand on this: I drank the alternative life Koolaid/kombucha in addition to my love of western medicine. My kids get vaccinated. We employ medicine when needed. While I previously thought that a lot of what Goop was spewing was pretentious, expensive pseudoscience—particularly when they were using that fear-based marketing I talked about—I’ve actually shifted.

It all has to do with a “spiritual journey” that I’ve been on the last year and a half to well, ha, find meaning and purpose in life (which beyond podcasts and self-help books has included trying new churches – not goop). It’s like my only hobby outside of decorating. I listen to podcast after podcast on divinity (I love the Liturgists), business, spirituality, parenting, and wellness. I buy and borrow so many self-improvement books, all to help me figure out how to live more consciously, feel more connected to everyone and everything on this earth (and above), and essentially have a more fulfilling life.

One podcast that I’ve grown to LOVE and listen to weekly (sometimes I marathon it while I’m cleaning the house) is, yes,  The Goop Podcast and it’s really where the opinion shift happened for me (though keep reading for my criticisms, because I do have them). If you are on the side of “ugh, I hate Gwyneth and Goop,” please listen to a few episodes before you comment negatively below. 


“Do I agree with everything Goop does? Nope, but how can I denigrate a nice woman, trying to do something new and different in media?”


Here’s why: generally, the guests are experts in their field—doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, motivational speakers—and they are pretty inspiring. Nobody is telling you to not vaccinate yourself or your kids; it’s more about how you can rewire your brain to create better habits or even heal physical ailments (TRUE), how eating less meat can lead to less cardiovascular problems, or very interesting theories on why auto-immune disorders have shot up in the last 30 years. I know what lectins are now, guys, and my gut is happier. I learn so much and it’s honestly made me strive to be a better person.

Moreover, when Gwyneth is on, you’ll hear how she actually is—a mom, a divorced wife, a newlywed, a business owner, a daughter of a beloved dad who passed,  and most importantly, a human being who admits her flaws as much as we do and is just trying to figure it all out and be a good person. She’s refreshingly honest and vulnerable. Again, do I agree with everything Goop does? Nope, but how can I denigrate a nice woman, trying to do something new and different in media? Her brand has inadvertently made people feel bad and that’s their biggest problem.

OKAY, ON TO THE WELLNESS SUMMIT.

Goop With Friends

So my friends from Oregon (Robyn and Nicole) attended last year, I missed it, but they RAVED about it being this really inspiring and fun day so I, of course, wanted to join. They bought their tickets and flights and we had it all set, but when I went to buy my ticket, I was SHOCKED to find out that it was a $1,000. You read that right, although it seems unbelievable. ONE. THOUSAND. DOLLARS for a one day conference. Woah. Surely I could get a press pass. I knew “influencers” who went last year with 1/10th the following who got passes.

But nope. By the time I reached out they were out. In fact, they were out of tickets entirely and they pulled strings to even let me buy my ticket. So then, I had to make a choice and I figured if I could write it off through the business (by writing this article) I would go to A. not let my friends down and miss a VERY fun day, but B. What could possibly happen in 9 hours that would be worth $1,000??? It became more about marketing and brand research than a girls’ day really.

Held at Rolling Greens in downtown LA (which is a stunning space), the summit was an extremely well-produced event, beautifully decorated and flowed great. We got there at 8 am sharp since we weren’t going to miss a second of our $1,000 day and proceeded to spend an hour and a half exploring. We got our B-12 shots in our bottoms, we watched the tuning fork therapy (which I think can work because I believe a lot of theories about energy healing but a 5-minute session won’t do much and the line was always long). We did a guided meditation to “plant music”…that’s right, there is this guy that has an instrument that takes the energy of plants and transforms it into music. It was weird and silly but if you are game to experience it—you’d have to be in order to be there to begin with—then it’s fun. Goop’s Chief Content Officer Elisa Loehnen (who I love) chimed in to say that “that may or may not be the goopiest thing you do all day” and everyone laughed. They make fun of themselves, they are in on the joke. We ate and drank delicious food and bopped into a lot of fun workshops and tested new products. There were no real hiccups in the production; no Fyre Festival here.

Goop Celeb Session

At 9:30, the first session started with Gwyneth and Elizabeth Gilbert, who spoke about grief, fear and creativity in a way that left us almost in tears (and excited to buy her book). Most of the sessions were totally inspiring I took an entire notebook of notes. Lacy Phillips taught us her three easy steps to manifesting what you want in life (I’m currently manifesting a new office space). Most inspiring was Lynne Twist who wrote “The Soul of Money,” a powerful book about the history of money and how we’ve all shifted from citizens to consumers (with the irony being of course that there was a massive gift shop inside the conference). The session with medium Laura Day was so entertaining (I love her) and the final session with Busy Phillips, Olivia Wilde, Jessica Alba and Taraji P. Henson was actually amazing. I was there for the other experts, not the celebrities, but they were all very authentic, articulate and inspiring (FYI, all the speakers become podcasts soon after, so you can tune in to that for FREE).

We left with our 20-pound gift bag feeling utterly inspired and spent the next three days debriefing—how we felt it was as a marketing event for their brand as well as what changes we were going to make in our lives because of it. There was a lot to unpack from it.

Now for my criticism.

I believe a large part of wellness comes from helping others and this conference was certainly SELF-help. Now, nothing is innately wrong with that, but there is something so confronting about being in a room with 600 HIGHLY privileged mostly white women, and there not being one word about helping others (except Lynne Twist). No percentage of the $1,000 ticket sales went towards a cause, and none of the sessions were focused on helping anything but yourself. What I love so much about the podcast is that they do dive into a lot of that, and it was missing from the conference. You have 600 either rich or powerful (press) in the room and boy did it feel like such a missed opportunity to not create a conversation or dialogue about what we can do both macro and micro to change the world for the better. So while we left feeling inspired, we also left feeling a little gross and very guilty.

Give me the opportunity to give back and use my privilege to contribute. Have a speaker that helps us understand how to best help our community and give back and frankly remind these women that it’s the responsibility of the elite to serve others. It just is. But again, that’s not the Goop brand or ethos, which I suppose is my biggest issue. I don’t really know what they value, I don’t understand their “why” beyond creating interesting conversations and recommending the newest organic self-tanner, which is not a bad thing. Hell, I struggle with my “WHY” EVERY. SINGLE. DAY, so I get that it’s not that easy, especially when trying to run a business. They are a self-proclaimed “Modern Lifestyle Brand” and I suppose I just wish it were bigger, more empowering and more responsible, with all their products being sustainable and green.

But listen, this is a “wellness” summit and frankly can’t do everything, nor should it. It was a very clear message, one of self-improvement. I suppose I just want to go to a different conference, one that was less about SELF-improvement and more about improving our communities, what we can do to promote change, etc.

All in all, it was GREAT for what it set out to do, I think I just wanted it to be less about how can I be a better me and more about the earth, community, etc. Will I go again? I’m torn. I mean if I get a press pass, then of course. If my best friends fly down again for girls weekend it will be very hard to stay home, but if they don’t then no I wouldn’t spend $1,000 again.”


That was the original post. In just a few hours, we had over 100 comments and they were coming fast—at Goop, Gwyneth and me. I typically try to have a flushed out diplomatic stance on hot-button topics but I just didn’t have the time to focus and just threw up the post. Not only are there some small tonality regrets in what I said, but more importantly there was a lot that I didn’t say.

I stand by what I wrote, but here is what I’d like to add.

  1. Being one of 600 highly privileged mostly white women in the conference was confronting. I didn’t feel uncomfortable, but throughout the day I felt more and more ashamed and guilty. I realize that I’m one of the “whitest” people I know–not just my skin color, but habits, hobbies, how I talk, what I wear, etc. I’m not necessarily ashamed of this (nor do I want to change who I am) but sometimes embodying a stereotype so perfectly can be embarrassing when confronted by a group who also embody this. I’ve been at blogger events where the racial demographic was the same, but the level of affluence was totally different, so why the change? If you’ve followed along for a while, you might know that growing up, we were the not-rich kids living in a very wealthy community in high school so I’m kinda scarred from that and I’m terrified of raising the kids I went to high school with. I have a bias against the wealthy, despite NOW being one of them. This is not GOOP’s fault. No. I was internalizing my own fear and knew that I was supporting a company that was embracing their wealth and then my fear kicked in that now that I was one of them.
  2. I became self-righteous. “HOW DARE THEY NOT GIVE US AN OPPORTUNITY TO GIVE BACK?” I don’t disagree with my previous statement but I wonder if it was out of my own fear of becoming part of a culture that I have always resisted and less about the logistics and ethos of the conference. I felt guilty for being there so I kept saying “why not at least give 5% to some cause?” But that would be just for show, a token to satisfy someone like me. Do I think they should start creating that conversation within their business? YES, but who am I to ask them to provide me with an easy app or donation box to alleviate my own guilt when I have the power (we all do) to go out and find my own cause and help where I can?
  3. What do I do to help and give back and is it enough? WHO AM I TO CALL OUT GOOP? I try, I do but beyond the Feelgood Flash makeovers, and shelter/Miry’s List stuff, I’m not waking up every day thinking about how I can help my community. A business is not a charity, I get that, but I actually don’t think that a business’ level of success is actually something to value. I listened to a recent podcast (Intelligence Squared) about how corporate “philanthropy” is actually just a mask that distracts from what problems they are creating, so society goes easy on them and applauds them when they try to solve others. Furthermore, we don’t know what Goop and GP herself give or don’t to help others. It’s so self-righteous for me to be like “give me a platform to give back” without even researching whether they do.

So that’s where I’m at. I don’t wish I could go back in time, because I learned a ton from the comments. I agree with what I said, but with more self-reflection, I realize that A. we at EHD could be doing more, and B. publishing a post that isn’t well thought out is good for no one.

  1. Hi, Sara here from Germany. I recommend the Goop podcast to my friends and colleagues all the time.. And what do they say: You have to help yourself so to be able to help others (think oxygen masks in a plane). And it’s true: If you are anxious, stressed and not connected to your inner self than chances are you won’t be really able to help others. Either not even see they need help or not have the energy to help. I’ve also been on a self-finding journey these last two years and I’m convinced it has made me a calmer and happier person. And I’m able to be a better mother and friend. I think if you are not really connected to the world because you are just caught up in yourself (by being anxious and stressed) you cannot make the world a better place. So no bad conscience about the wish to become your true self!

    1. Hi Sara, I 100% agree with you reminding us about help yourself first with oxygen masks. I believe most of us want to help other people as much as possible, yet we can’t do that to our greatest capacity if we aren’t functioning at our best.
      I love the goop brand and very grateful we have a Gwyneth Paltrow in our generation !
      Thanks Emily for sharing your thoughts.

  2. I think Gwyneth Paltrow seems…earnest? Nice enough? And good for her, I guess, for building such a successful business or brand or whatever, and if people want to spend a lot of money on the clothes or makeup or whatever, then that’s certainly fine. But, yeah, the “supplements” and “detoxing” and crystals are just snake oil. When you write, “NOBODY REALLY KNOWS,” that’s just not true. We know. You don’t need to detox; that’s what your liver does. Crystals are just placeboes. I don’t think this is negativity; it’s just science.

    It might be more interesting to wonder why so many privileged white women are drawn to Goop’s “remedies”: why, given their many advantages in the world, do they still feel like they need fixing? I think the whole obsession with “self-care” is fascinating: is it wildly self indulgent? Or women’s way of acknowledging that the larger culture constantly makes them feel like they aren’t good enough?

    1. I mostly agree with you. However: I have a good friend who suffered from severe eczema for years. “Science” — ie, the medical profession — loaded her up with drugs, including steroids. Year after year, her eczema got worse and required stronger and stronger drugs. Finally out of sheer desperation, she decided to detox. She went on a fast for 2 weeks. Nothing but water. And after that began gradually adding organic unprocessed foods back to her diet, one by one. That was 10 years ago and she hasn’t suffered from eczema since. She cured herself. The “science” — ie, the steroids and other drugs doctors were pumping into her system — were making her worse.

      So science clearly doesn’t have all the answers either. And the huge pharmaceutical industry is perfectly happy to load you up with drugs, based on “science,” so long as you’re willing to part with your money. I trust science a lot more than Goop! But we should have a degree of skepticism about science, too.

      1. This sounds less like a problem with “science” and more of a critique on capitalism and our failing health care system.

        1. Preach! Sums it all up nicely with one caveat, the rising economic inequality of the past 50 years is destroying society and democracy.

      2. Louann, please don’t equate “science” with a particular doctor or pharmaceutical. “Science” is more far-reaching and pure (imho) than that. Science describes; it does not proscribe. I’m glad your friend’s eczema cleared up, but her method could also be described in scientific terms.

        1. Susie Q: You act like “science” is this completely separate thing from the pharmaceutical industry and various other medical industries. But it’s not. “Science” has been funded for decades by those same industries. Their lobbyists determine what medicines get pushed on the public via the government and via the medical profession. It’s all intertwined. The opioid epidemic is the direct result of science, business, and government combining to ill effect.

          Look, like I said, I trust science a whole more than I trust these silly self-help web sites. But it’s more than little naive to think science is impartial and pure, when it’s often NOT and there are loads of examples of that throughout U.S. history.

          We would do well to approach this with an eye toward the good science can do as well as the biases often inherent in it.

          1. It seems to me that you and I have different definitions of the word “science.” What I am calling “science” is, according to the dictionary, “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”

            Science existed before America, big pharma, lobbyists, and so on. The issues you describe indeed exist, but as a language teacher, I insist on following the standard definition of a word.

      3. The flip side is, my friend’s 2 year old son developed terrible excema and they took him to a Naturopathic Doctor who prescribed them all kind of supplements and an escalating extreme elimination diet. They did this for about 6 weeks but his skin kept getting worse. The naturopath sent them for allegery tests and everything. Finally, she took him to their family doctor about it. Turns out he had a bacterial skin infection had a week or so of antibiotics and is now completely fine. I think that any company who profits from consumers is inherently not out for “your” best interests and that “big pharma” and “big supplements” are equally guilty of wanting to profit from your illness/wellness and that no guru or sales pitch should undermine your common sense and critical thinking.

      4. I have autoimmune issues and agree with your statement about diet, because science has proven that lectins cause systemic inflammation in people with compromised gut lining, people with PhD’s in biochemistry have done legitimate, unbiased research, and anecdotally, I’ve experienced the cessation of autoimmune symptoms after implementing the AIP diet. But equivocating an organic unprocessed diet with something like crystal healing is a poor argument. There is no science to back up that woo-woo, and until there is, it’s terrible practice for any business to recommend such “treatments” so loosely, especially if they’re also shilling said “treatments”. Goop hiring more functional doctors doesn’t make Goop more legit, it just means they’re paying some doctors of questionable integrity to sell pseudoscientific remedies to gullible rich people. There’s a reason you felt guilty going to that “summit”. Listen to your gut, it’s right.

    2. “It might be more interesting to wonder why so many privileged white women are drawn to Goop’s “remedies”: why, given their many advantages in the world, do they still feel like they need fixing?” I could not agree more, that IS a far more interesting (and blog-worthy) question. Why the lack of contentment? Is the self-care market just fast -fashion and flat-pack repackaged in a way that seems less wasteful on the surface but still reeks of replacing relationships with purchases? “Detoxing” is really just code for “trying to lose weight”, its not cool to say you’d rather be thinner, but the subtext is still there. Pills and potions are not going to compensate for screen-time replacing sleep and human connections are much more healing than a pile of rocks. Tapping in on women’s insecurities and isolation in order to get them to hand over their cash is never ethical even if it is a successful formula. Would be sad to see the EHD brand head in that direction.

      1. This. This. This.

        1. Same

          1. Ditto!

      2. Agee. It has been sad for me so see EHD more and more over its recent years of financial successes develop this, shall I say ‘Goop’ attitude.
        It now seems to to me lack a certain genuine humility and empathy for people who may not be as privileged as these people consider themselves.
        It’s been kind of achingly maddeningly sad to see this happen to what seemed to have begun with just Emily and her wonderful design sense. What has happened to that? Is it inevitable that this would happen when someone becomes one of the truly “privileged”?

        1. What utter nonsense as most recently evidenced by the empathy and sheer joy of then entire team in the recent makeovers they have done for others less fortunate.

      3. I fully agree with everything you wrote, Emma.

      4. Well said

      5. Amen, Emma!

      6. Well said!!!!!

      7. Well said.

    3. 100% this. I don’t have feelings about Gwyneth Paltrow as a person. I don’t know her. I will never know her. I don’t really care what she is like, nice or not. She peddles “remedies” that we have evidence do nothing, and some of them ARE HARMFUL. Then people like you come and say “well, its not harmful! I’m open minded. It COULD work”. Emily, be real, IT DOESN’T. Crystals are all fine and not dangerous, but saying we don’t know if they work or not is just spouting more pseudoscientific BS. Science is under attack enough, don’t use your platform as a designer to make this even worse than it is. Stick with what you know, please.

      1. Just to correct here – crystals are mined, from the earth, with little to no oversight and are often very environmentally damaging. For anyone who is going to use them please please please get them from a guaranteed eco friendly source that makes sure they are responsibly mined. Or consider other ways to realign your energies and stuff.

        1. Amen!

    4. This.

    5. ALL OF THIS.

    6. would love to know the geographical source of attendees. Were the 600 women attending all from Southern Cal? Where else does Goop hold $1000 a day conferences? Just pointing out that in most of the rest of the country, none of this would fly…..

    7. Agree 100%!

    8. ha. while I don’t agree with everything you say I do love your question: “It might be more interesting to wonder why so many privileged white women are drawn to Goop’s “remedies”: why, given their many advantages in the world, do they still feel like they need fixing?” For me I feel like there is a general obsession with self improvement, for me it feels more like a fun (and often hilarious) hobby. But I take it so not seriously, while often the placebo affect is there. But the podcast has some experts that really are scientists, i promise – give it a try 🙂

      1. Emily-

        Is that actually true?

        As a longtime reader and BIG fan, sometimes I wonder if you’re performing the whole “not taking it seriously” thing as a way to feel like you haven’t bought into the whole system.

        As an observer, I sometimes wonder how much you’re on the outside of the whole thing, laughing at it and aware of how silly it is, and whether you’re actually trying to mask your own participation.

        This question is more centered around restrictive eating and a beauty industry that disguises itself as wellness, versus the pseudoscience stuff goop promotes. Where a thin, unwrinkled body is the ultimate symbol of health.

      2. I think what people forget is that privilege has nothing to do with your mental health. The amount of money you make or earn doesn’t make a dent in some people’s stress or anxiety. Sure, if finances are the base of your anxiety then yes, money may help relieve that. But you can work hard, have it “all” and still struggle with mental health. And when you are in the deepest, darkest corners of your depression or anxiety, you’d pay any amount for something that will fix that. So if that’s expensive conferences or crystals or creams, that’s what a person will try! This may not be the case for all “privileged women” but I feel it should be a consideration to all these people jumping on “why privileged women” need self help etc. Just my two cents. I thought the article was really interesting!

      3. @Emily I think it’s because as a privileged white woman there’s no real “struggle”; i.e. you’re not wanting for anything. Not trying to get food/water/shelter/privilege- you already have that. There’s a level of boredom there I think. Trying to amuse and entertain oneself. (Not specifically referencing you – just a general thought.)

        1. Fascinating discussion. Your comment resonates with me. I’ve gone from living in my in laws house due to lack of money to being able to buy a house in cash in just under 7 years. And until I had money (“excessive money”) I never indulged In self help trends. Once I became “wealthy” I found myself making more and more purchases in an effort to “help/improve myself”.

          I think you’re right. I think it is human nature to need some sort of struggle. Without it, it feels as if we’re not progressing. Or as Emily has said “we aren’t as fulfilled”.

          As a “wealthy” person in a happy marriage, doing what I love (mother of 3) I did feel without true struggle. And I found myself inventing smaller, artificial struggles that don’t truely fill that void. Whether it’s unnecessary house/renovation projects, better skincare regimes, orgazational projects, etc.

          Recently I had come to realize that just because I have money doesn’t mean I should allow myself to live without struggle. We use to live in a neighborhood with amazing schools, expensive houses, and zero diversity (economic, cultural, racial, etc). I kept thinking but MY kids won’t grow up “privileged”. We’ll teach them to be humble. Well easier said than done. In all reality it’s not something that’s taught, it’s something that’s lived. If I spend excessive amounts of money on frivolous things, how am I to expect my kids not to? If they’re surrounded only (or mostly) by privilege, how are they able to empathize with struggle much less experience it for themselves?

          We moved out of that neighborhood and found one that felt more community oriented and was full of diversity of all sorts. The neighborhood we fell in love with ended up not having very good schools. But the people are amazing. And there is a strong sense of community here. So instead of moving we’re digging in. Best doesn’t necessarily mean easiest. I’m going to have to be more involved and to fight for my kids to have the education I want them to. In exchange, I get to live in a multi dimensional community that I love.

          There is this misconception that you should be striving to live a life without struggle. It’s wrong. That if you’re wealthy, you should be separating yourself from those that aren’t. That’s wrong.

          Just because I have millions of dollars doesn’t mean I should live in a million dollar home. Or that my children should or deserve to go to the perfect school. It means I don’t have to worry about my kids well being. I have the privilege of providing them with what they need to succeed and letting them work and struggle for the rest.

          Wealthy people don’t need to donate to more charities. We need a perspective change. We need to stop being exclusive. We need to seek out all types of communities and give back our money to these communities we are proud to be a part of. We need to stop giving from a distance.

          Our oxygen masks are already on. We don’t need to be applying the latest cruelty free moisturizer before we help the person sitting next to us get on theirs.

          1. I loved your last sentence, Lex. I love how introspective you are about your good fortune!

          2. Thanks for this comment.

            As a person of privilege the earlier “but my oxygen mask!” Statements were not ringing true for me. If you have time, resources and energy to worry about “self care” and remedies instead of survival- your oxygen mask is already on. It’s amazing how things like anxiety, bad habits and things you want to “fix” will diminish themselves on their own when you start to help other people.

            Everything you said was spot on. And when I’m a millionaire I strive to be just like you. Cheers.

          3. Yes, yes, yes! Everything you’ve said here. Completely the way I feel. Being an actual part of a community and giving your time and energy to people you’ve developed relationships vs. giving back to an organization because it “feels good.”

          4. This is so wonderful, and how I’ve hoped I’d make choices if I had them to make. Your example is beautiful and right and how I wish the whole world could hear of it.

          5. Lex, I love your comment. Hopefully your fighting to ensure your kids get the education they deserve will positively impact other kids at the school who might not have someone fighting for them! It’s a great example of helping people climb up the ladder ❤️

          6. Gahhh! So good! Thank you for sharing. I needed to hear this.

          7. This!!!!!

      4. Sounds cliche but it’s true: When you are always focused on yourself, you are less likely to be happy. Being more focused on others leads to contentment and more positive energy and it comes without the $1k price tag or the expensive alternative products that also cost an arm and a leg. I’m happy to not to be in her demographic. She is extremely financially “privileged” but I feel so much more privileged in my life than I would in hers. Sometimes less is more. Or otherwise said, there is a point of diminishing return that leads with diminishing perspective. Her brand is off putting because it doesn’t feel like she lost perspective- it feels like she’s never had it to begin with- and she isn’t accidentally exclusive- that’s a brand choice. Many brands make that choice, but they aren’t selling wellness to women who clearly can’t throw enough money at the problem to fix it.

    9. I think it really comes down to whether or not you believe the classism is accidental or purposeful. I just don’t see how a brand so supposedly focused on introspection and mindfulness could be unaware of how damaging a lot of their message is. I don’t hate Gwyneth Paltrow or people who like Goop, but I’ve worked in hunger relief for most of my career and I’ve seen the damage this particular kind of classism can do. Goop may not directly encourage judgement, but they certainly “other” those who choose (or often cannot afford) to practice what their brand preaches. Maybe the company is changing–I hope so. Anyway, we probably mostly disagree on this, but I appreciate your willingness to talk about these kinds of things so honestly and openly when you don’t have to. I know it must be stressful to put your opinions out there when people are so quick to throw out criticisms.

    10. Thank you, Hannah.

    11. I’m not a Goop fan (mostly neutral about it) but I think that the tired, blanket argument that everything she does and makes is “snake oil” just seems knee-jerk—I took a quick peek at some of her supplement ingredients list and pretty sure that calcium, magnesium and choline isn’t exactly snake oil. Plenty of studies on that. I am concerned about the argument that everything we sign off on must be approved by popular “science” and “scientifically proven”’or it’s bunk. What does that even mean really? I think we forget that science is a man-made construct, paradigm and lens in which we see the world and it’s constantly evolving and most of what we consider modern health science in the U.S. has been controlled by wealthy, white, powerful men. While modern science has given us much, it’s naive to put too much faith in a medical industry that not that long ago was telling us smoking cigarettes was just fine when they knew dang well it was killing us. Doctors were on tobacco commercials, puffing away, reassuring it was not a problem. And why? Big Tobacco’s $ was controlling the “science”. Let’s not forget how much of scientific research is funded by powerful lobby groups and that there’s still so much we humble little humans don’t know about the universe b/c maybe we’re not asking the right questions and don’t have the funding to study and prove that which doesn’t financially benefit corporate interests.

      1. Ed and Louann, I agree. Science and standards are evolving. Recommendations on when to eat peanut butter are evolving. Evidence about consumption of unsaturated fats is evolving. In addition, doctors and physician groups and health organizations are imperfect – comprised of people with faults, just like the rest of us. I think it’s wise to be open to the stuff that today might be tossed aside as ‘snake oil.’

        I have a feeling that Eastern medicine was onto something the whole time. The West may need to catch up.

    12. This was so well said about the draw to self-improvement remedies. It might sound trite but I think you can’t overestimate how much living in LA encourages and influences this. In my personal experience, in LA I was constantly bombarded with people who were seemingly skinnier, tanner, healthier and happier than I was. Everything you are surrounded by constantly shouts eat-drink-buy-do this or you’re a waste of space! Yes, you can argue that we all get this pressure all day long through social media and TV, but in LA it is amplified several times over. It seems like everyone around you has bought in and is winning at life and one step ahead— better catch up! I can imagine a Goop health summit would have a much harder time filling $1,000 seats anywhere but there.
      Anywho— I agree, I’d be interested in further conversation about the balance between self-improvement and self-acceptance. Can we stop spending time and money on brands that tell us we’re not enough and instead learn to embrace ourselves as we are? How much more/less healthy would we be if we did that? Where’s the line?

    13. You’re missing one important fact, which is that while goop is new age and woo woo, they are trying to get the full story and often have experts on their podcast that contradict previous experts. There was specifically one doctor who said that you do not need to do cleanses-your body detoxifies it’s self.

      So while this may add to your thoughts that it’s all fake, it actually shows more elements of journalistic integrity. Additionally we should underestimate the power of our minds to effect change in our bodies, what works for some will not work for others. Why else would there be 15 + types of anti-depression drugs on the markets.

    14. 👏🏻

    15. I work in international public health. I spend time in facilities where children die because there is no consistent access to $5 drugs.

      Reading this entire thread – and the comments – makes me feel so alone. There’s a larger world than California and the USA and you don’t actually have to use a tuning fork to get in touch with yourself to be able to LITERALLY change the world for the better by saving lives.

      I need a release and I enjoy interior decorating and this isn’t meant to ruin this happy space so this is my final take away: Emily, I love you and the work you’re doing with finding your spirituality. Leave the USA/Europe and go see the real world and how humans actually live on this earth, because you’re privileged enough to go find the truth for yourself. I promise you’ll never feel compelled by Goop again. None of this matters one whit. You can argue all you want about science and it’s shortcomings but please realize that a lot of the world doesn’t even have access to the most basic drugs that we KNOW save lives.

      1. <3 yes

      2. This comment really puts it in perspective for me, a middle-class non-millionaire who teeter-totters between already feeling quite privileged and thinking, “if only we made [$] more…” Thank you.

      3. Hi SSM, what organization do you work for? Is there a way for us to support?

      4. Well said, SSM.

      5. Love this comment. People’s lives are in the balance due to inequities and it should be mentioned that overconsumption (and the environmental degradation that ensues) puts those who are most vulnerable and least responsible in harms way.

  3. Thanks for this article! I really didn’t know much about Goop. Very interesting! I think you probably hit the nail on the head – they’re doing what they’re doing well, it’s just missing the “helping others” angle. I agree that you need to put your own oxygen mask on first, but that whole analogy ends with “so you can put the other person’s on.”
    I believe talking self-help is important but should always be framed in the bigger picture of creating a meaningful life that includes service to others.
    Thank you Emily for always writing thoughtfully anytime you delve into areas outside of design. It’s refreshing!

    1. yes. this comment encompassess everything i wanted to say. : )
      I don’t know much about Goop except what i’ve heard. i would like to listen to the podcasts. i really need to figure out how to listen to podcasts on my phone. i’m very technologically stunted : )

  4. Thanks for the well thought-out article. Always appreciate your openness!

    I feel that this event *did* help out the non-privileged. If the event had food – Weren’t there dozens of workers who either cooked food or served food? What about the setup company’s workers – folks who rented chairs, folks who set up chairs. Many of these are likely blue-collar workers who had an opportunity to earn income for the part of the week. Even event coordinators – those workers probably came home exhausted and happy about their event going so smoothly – a good day’s (year’s – in preparation!) work.

    Charity is awesome, too, but these events are not devoid of helping people other than the attendees.

    1. I get what you’re saying, but I don’t think I’d call paying someone to do their job as “help.” Maybe if the blue-collar workers you’re referring to owned the food/setup businesses, but I doubt a VIP event at $1,000 a ticket was reaching out to small business owners in the community.

    2. Service workers are frequently paid minimum wage, which is not a living wage anywhere, and especially not in Los Angeles. Perhaps they were paid a lot to reflect the cost of attendance, but I would doubt it. Truthfully, this comment feels like a little like a more benign modern day version of the old justifications of slavery as if it were a kindness or favor to the enslaved people and gave them opportunities they otherwise would not have had.

      1. Hi Al,
        I think slavery is abhorrent, but people having an opportunity to work for a wage that they want to work for (vs. not having a job) is an opportunity. As long as people aren’t forced to do this work, wouldn’t you agree it’s an opportunity? I fully support these workers (myself included) quitting and moving to a different job at any moment they desire. Employers can attract workers… and the cycle of creating an economy where money can be earned (something that I think economies in lower-GDP countries strive for) continues.

        1. Hmm, I just don’t like calling giving a lower class person a short term job charity. Is it an opportunity? Yes, but I would not call it charity. That statement alone is oozing with elitism and privilege. I think why Goop turns so many people off, is bc of the divide it creates. It’s the divide between the elitism to the middle class, it’s just too much. Someone serving at that event is probably happy and grateful to make money, but it also wasn’t a regular, steady job. The event is over. It also creates a very real reality of where they come from and what they don’t have. It does seem like these group of elitism women are often telling the middle/lower class how their opinions should be trusted more or something bc Goop and GP is smarter and better bc they have the money, education, ext. I really appreciate Emily’s post here and honesty. I think this is an important conversation. It think this really comes down to income inequality. It’s this divide, between the higher class and lower classes that has always been there, but thanks to technology and social media people are hyper aware of how great that divide is now. It’s why I think we ended up with President Trump. It’s tricky and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with working hard and having money and creating jobs, yet there does seem to be something missing with these group of women like Emily mentioned in her original post.

        2. This whole “You can quit anytime you want and find something new!”/“You can move to a new state anytime you want! Why stay somewhere if you don’t like it?” worldview is so, sooooo elitist, classist and out of touch. People who say things like this CLEARLY have no idea how hard it would be for someone poor to just quit their job or just up and move to a new town.

          This type of person subscribes to the bootstrap myth of being able to do anything you choose if you set your mind to it, which doesn’t take into account the facts of life for poor people.

          This type of person knows nothing of food deserts, how hard it is to find a job these days that pays more than minimum wage, how minimum wage comes nowhere close to meeting the standards of living in most places (and especially not in a place like LA or NYC). If you can barely make ends meet, how are you supposed to come up with the thousands of $ you’d need to move to a new town or state? Let’s not even get into how much worse it is if the person is disabled and living off of government subsidies, which forces them to be poor to continue to get those subsidies.

          This type of person thinks people should be thankful for working for a pittance, like this is the new slave days or any time in the past centuries where rich folks became richer by being horrible to the working class.

          These are the types of people that think that healthcare, a decent livable wage and the access to clean air, food and water is a privilege and not a right.

          1. Thank you, @Erika!

    3. This is an important point. Any large scale event with a massive budget spins out work & contracts to an army of service providers. I work in the art industry in a third world country. We are scaling back large-scale client hospitality events because of economic uncertainty, and all of my service providers are concerned at the loss in revenue from my company’s regularly scheduled events. It’s a myopic view to think that “giving back” is only realised via some overt, branded charity mission. The massive scale of the GOOP event was doubtless thousands of dollars of employee-paying revenue for companies of all shapes and sizes.

      1. Creating something whether it is a product, company or an event is amazing, but let’s be clear— it is not charity. It might even be better than charity, but to call it charity is missing the mark completely, to act like it was a gift to the poor is ridiculous. Charity is a generous gift, this was a transaction between two people who needed each other and traded services, nothing wrong with that, but certainly not charity.

    4. Let’s hope they were paid a living wage.

    5. Working for minimum wage in the USA is not “an opportunity” unless you have absolutely nothing. It doesn’t even sustain the basic necessities of life. This idea that people should be grateful to work for a pittance at an event like this is a serious misunderstanding of human dignity and the rights we should all have on an earth where there’s enough to go around. Sounds like an excuse to help one sleep at night.

  5. I’m not familiar with the podcasts but I will look for them. But Her cookbook, “ My Fathers Daughter” is wonderful. I found my copy at a Goodwill books only store and I love it. I like kombucha too.

    1. All of her cookbooks are surprisingly great. Her slow roasted tomato recipe is one of my top ten favorites things I’ve ever eaten. Just had to chime in and add that!

  6. Jade eggs and pseudoscience aside, you summed up my frustration with this brand in the paragraph about self-help vs fulfilment through helping others. I’m happy for the women making healthy changes in their lives thanks to goop, but it’s still really hard (read: impossible) for me to respect this brand. Some might disagree, but I think it’s unhealthy to place personal fulfilment on such a pedestal. I think self-love can turn into narcissism if you aren’t intentional about giving back or engaging with the hardships others go through. It’s a real turn off for me when a brand influencing consumers is silent on sustainability, responsible consumer choices, and social issues.

    1. Thank you for saving me from a long response! 100% agree. And I think Goop only backed off of some of the more icky stuff because they had numbers to show it was hurting profits. I don’t think it was because of any conscious decision on their part to do better.

      1. Agree. Paltrow admitted in a New York Times interview that they do no research into the viability of the things they recommend.
        And the person who argued that the little people are ‘helped’ by serving the wealthy people — have you heard of white privilege? Yeah, slaves were happy to have food and shelter, too!

        1. Can I just say, in support of Emily Henderson…

          This woman has almost single handedly taught me to design through her exceptional and completely free blog.

          I live in another country and over all the years of reading and soaking up her knowledge, reading about her design mistakes, filing her advice away for when I need it and just generally thousands upon thousands of hours of toil and labour, I basically have an honourary degree in interior design. Some days I actually think I could work for Emily because she has trained me so well.

          If that means that once in a while to get re-inspired and do some professional self-reflection she attends a self help day to CONTINUE TO HELP ME AND WHOEVER IN THE WORLD WANTS TO UNDERSTAND MORE ABOUT DESIGN FOR FREE then so be it.

          And so it should be that her business pays for it and it’s a tax deduction.

          None of us are paying her for this. We’re all users – or should I say opportunists – too.

          I cannot imagine how hard it must be to keep up daily content whilst maintaining a life. I’m so genuinely appreciative of you, your time and your giving to us all, Emily.

          Perhaps consider that your service to others achieved 🙂

          1. Agreed! Emilys book is what inspired me to change careers and become an interior designer. Her design advice and blog has been a huge source of design education and help throughout my journey. And to your point Sarah- all free which is incredible. Thanks Emily and team!

          2. That’s not really the point though. Yes, there is a lot to be grateful for in the tireless effort Emily puts into giving her audience thorough, detailed, free design advice. And there shouldn’t be a an expectation put on her to be the perfect role model because that is unrealistic for anybody and also not her job. For me, my one issue with this whole topic is she is somebody with a large platform (and a whole lot of privilege) giving a platform to another woman (who also has a large platform and lots of privilege) who MAKES MONEY OFF OF DANGEROUS PRODUCTS FOR WOMEN. The jade eggs and products meant to be put in a woman’s vagina are dangerous.

          3. 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 This!

          4. Sarah great comment 👏🏻

          5. Oh, beautifully said, Sarah!

        2. This comment exactly.

    2. YES! love this comment.

    3. man. it took me hours and hours and hours to write this post (i’m a long processor) and you just summed it up perfectly. listen, i know they are reading but you guys – THIS AUDIENCE – has called me out on not being sustainable, on not being green enough and it took a while for me to honestly do the research enough to really feel emboldened to make the changes, but i’m SO GLAD you did. So while I woke up with an absolute panic attack that it was actually published without two more weeks of tweaking part of me was like – well, maybe it will help …

      1. So true! We all get to enjoy Emily’s knowledge for 👏 free 👏.
        People enjoying Goop and attending the conference shouldn’t be the issue. There are TONS of things some people enjoy and others don’t. Or things some some people can afford and others cannot. Goop polarizes these differences and I think that’s why people have such a reaction. When it comes to health, I believe no one should be in the position to not have enough money to be healthy and have access to healthcare (be it pharmaceuticals or *goopy* remedies).That’s what gets me down. There are people literally dying and going bankrupt to purchase medicine for themselves and their families. It IS a huge conversation in the world and when people see privileged people going home with 20 pound totes- yeah maybe it’s triggering. It I’m glad this conversation is happening. I can only hope that the privileged white guilt *does* push people towards making a difference for those less fortunate. Just because it’s the right thing to do, not for a business slogan or publicity. There’s no ONE way to do this. Find a way that works for you. A long time ago someone told me “you can’t fight for everything. So choose one thing you really care about- and go put the energy into it.”

      2. Thank you for writing this thoughtful post Emily. I enjoyed reading it and the comments. Many good points to ponder. Like you, I’ve been on a bit of a spiritual journey the last year trying to figure out my purpose in life. In fact, it was seeing your Insta story about Many Lives Many Masters that launched my journey. You may never understand your purpose because it’s impossible to know how many lives you are influencing, even in a small way like an Insta post.

    4. I completely agree with you, Clarissa.

    5. Yes, and it’s the extremism of the income inequality that gets to me. The sheer excess when others have so little, isn’t adequately recognized by Goop or society in general. Would I be okay if I had less, so that others could have more? To me this is the “joke” that Goop isn’t in on.

  7. While I try to embrace new experiences, the whole program seems very, well, Kardashian except with blonde hair. Buy my stuff and you too can live this glamorous boho life. So it will never be for me. Your thoughts on this are interesting, though.

    1. i’ve been agreeing with some of the other comments. but i have to say that your description as “the whole program seems very, well, Kardashian except with blonde hair” is the perfect description of how this comes off. the very WASP version of the Kardashians. and this is based just on anything i’ve ever heard about Goop and this post.
      to each their own. i really don’t care about Goop, because i know nothing about it. though i would be totally willing to check it out. i appreciate Emily’s take on it. i like the part about the missing part about helping others and that “it’s the responsibility of the elite to serve others”. this is what i love about Emily.

    2. A lot of the wellness and self-care/self-help industry plays into insecurity and it preys on women feeling bad about themselves and it’s not unique to Goop but she certainly helped kick off the trend. It’s why I just cannot get on board. I appreciate Emily’s take here but it just doesn’t work for me.

  8. Such an interesting topic! I guess I’m one of the few people who is actually somewhat neutral on Goop. I used to receive their newsletters (years ago, maybe 5+ years since I unsubscribed) but didn’t feel I was really interacting with them enough to be worth the inbox clutter. I was only mostly interested in recipes but healthy recipes or detox suggestions are a dime a dozen on the internet now and I can easily find the info if I want. I didn’t need to be inundated with her shopping suggestions – I will always be poor compared to her demographic so I didn’t find that helpful in any way.

    I appreciate Emily’s thoughts on the wellness aspect of Goop’s business but unfortunately I think Goop undermines their wellness business with all the shopping suggestions. Even now, on their page, she had clothing links to $800 skirts and sweaters etc. That’s fine if she and some of her followers can afford it. But it tends to make the healthy content seem disingenuous. I don’t really understand the vitriol though, I mean, let’s just think for ourselves and let others do as they please. I’m not going to shove a rock up my vagina just because Gwyneth does. Live and let live.

    What I really want to see are pictures of what was included in the gift bags from the conference!

  9. I have no thoughts on Goop and could not care less about Gwyneth Paltrow, but I was confused as to why you were reviewing (?) defending (?) the woman on a design blog. I read the article to find out, and there is was, crystal clear… so that you could write off the ticket as a business expense. Unbelievable. Literally writing this pointless content, just so you can write off your THOUSAND dollar day out with the girls? Come on now, Emily. You keep claiming you grew up middle-class, can’t you see how ridiculous that is?

    Your criticism, “I don’t really know what they value, I don’t understand their “why” beyond creating interesting conversations and recommending the newest organic self-tanner.” could be used for the Emily Henderson brand. I no longer understand your “why”, it’s all links to expensive outfits (which given you criticism of goop had better be ethically sourced) and “link roundups” which are poorly disguised excuses for affiliate links on glow tonic.

    I understand that’s how you make a lot of your money (and you must be making a lot, regardless of $1000 event tickets, to be buying the volume of clothes and shoes that you do), it just cracks me up that you’re criticising Goop for all of the things you do. Dodgy diet advice? Yep, you’ve got that covered with your infomercial for soup. You were sensible enough to add a few, “for me”s when claiming miraculous health-benefits and actually, I didn’t have a problem with that post at the time, I just went on my way. But in the context of you criticising Goop for the same thing, it just makes this whole article even more ridiculous.

    You are a stylist. I do not need you to defend Gwyneth for me, I’m perfectly capable of using my own critical thinking skills, thanks. This whole article comes off as 1) extremely out of touch and 2) very patronising. Let me explain to you poor people who don’t live in LA or have well-connected nannies what Gwynnie is reeeeealy like!

    1. You weren’t required to click on this post let alone read it. You’re being pretty patronizing here yourself — about free content you weren’t required to read.

      P.S. I am not a Goop fan. But I appreciate Emily’s honesty in writing about this.

      1. Agreed.

    2. Yeah, I was also confused by this article. I’ve sort of turned a blind eye to your links to Goop in the past because I don’t really engage with the roundups anyway, but thought it was odd that you dedicated a whole post to defend this brand. Why use the platform you’ve worked so hard for to jump in the ring defending Gwyneth who seems to be doing alright for herself? Especially after pointing out her brand’s many flaws?I love your flash makeovers to help families and the good work you do for your community. I’m GLAD that you aren’t goop, and hope this is a one-off post. Honestly, I’ll be disappointed if you throw another $1,000 at, what is in my opinion, such an unworthy cause next year.

    3. I agree with everything you have said, with one addition: this article is surely just clickbait?

    4. Thank you for saying this! That’s all I could think of while reading. I love Emily Henderson for her design aesthetic, hard work, and fun personality, but this article felt really off-base. I’m all for exploring new things and I’d never tell someone to “stay in their lane” but when she openly admitted that this article was just to get a tax write-off it felt totally disingenuous and Emily’s genuiness is one of my favorite things about her! And I completely agree that her criticism of the Goop brand had a lot of similarities with the content her own brand is trying to sell – overpriced items her followers can only dream of buying. I understand there’s people out there who can afford it, but in reality they are the ones HIRING her, not reading her blog. We’re here for the money savvy ideas! Emily – if you’re reading this, we still love you but please don’t exploit your readers like this!

      1. Have to respectfully disagree that this site is just selling overpriced items to the same sort of wealthy demographic Goop is targeting. I feel like this site is extremely aware of budget constraints and often features thrifted, diy, and of course, Target finds. Not to mention the reams of advice one would normally have to pay an expensive designer for, much of which I’ve used in my current remodel and which has saved me time and headaches!

    5. I found the article interesting and learned a few things that I didn’t know. That’s the great thing about Emily’s blog, it’s diverse and fresh. If I don’t like someone’s blog post, I just move on, because I realize someone else may benefit from it.

    6. YES to all of this!

    7. Hi Hayley,

      I think some of the points you are trying to make are valid and I hope Emily can read through the painful tone to see them. I would recommend that in the future, if you want your criticisms to be effective, work on making your points in a way that don’t knock-down-and-drag-out the person you are trying to sell them to.

      1. LJ: Agreed. Some people are so eager to be judgmental (the outrage police) they can’t even hear how they sound. They’re usually just as biased and myopic as the thing they are attacking.

      2. Fair comment, LJ. I take your point and will work on being less pointed in future.

    8. So well said!! I have been feeling less and less connected to the content and it’s directly attributable to the What I’m Wearing and what I’m Eating posts. I get it – this is a business and bloggers make SO MUCH MONEY from affiliate links, but it’s getting farther and farther from Emily’s “brand”. OF COURSE, Emily can rebrand and her content can (and should) evolve. But do it for the passion you feel and the excitement it brings you. Not for $1000 ticket to a conference you feel so-so about and the cash you’ll make from hawking an expensive outfit. Thanks, for reading these comments, Emily, and honestly admitting that you’re just trying to figure this all out too.

      1. It is not unusual for small business owners to look at an opportunity to attend an event that is not a “must attend” experience and to identify ways for which they can legitimately right off all or a portion of it as a business expense. I do this periodically as a small business owner myself, attending something out of curiosity, a quality that I believe greatly contributes to my success.

    9. Consider applying your line of thinking to a different situation. For example, I am an engineer whose job description is to review plans for quality, however, I constantly think about sustainability and how using paperless reviews reduce waste, reduce costs that can be reintroduced to a community, etc.

      Now, apply this thought and ask – Why would a reviewer be concerned with sustainability? You could argue that it is something that is outside a reviewers scope, but what would the office or community gain from this (other a mound of paper waste)?

      I guess my point in this long winded response is just because Emily is a designer does not mean she should have to exclusively post about design. Often times other opinions (sometimes different than our own) offer a challenge and inspire growth.

      I do agree with your point about the irony between criticizing Goop for not providing a vehicle to give but still considering writing off the ticket cost. However, it’s Emily’s business and her honesty and openness about matter is so refreshing.

      Personally, I have never been interested in goop or GP, but now I am curious.

    10. Thank you Hayley. This blog is a list of affiliate links from top to bottom each day of the week. I don’t mind that -if she is clever enough making millions that way good for her. However, calling other people out on doing exactly what she is doing – selling stuff and contributing to the earth’s waste, all the while doing it under cover of a ‘spiritual journey’ just takes the cake. LA is full of hacks. It’s insidious in that environment and clearly afflicts everyone sooner or later.

    11. I don’t understand the tone of this comment, to be quite frank.

      Your words do not read as any sort of constructive criticism, so I’m left to wonder what’s the point. Is your intention to just drag Emily because you’re, what, frustrated with her content? It just seems so petty.

      Yes, this is a design blog, and if you want you can find a whole lot of design advice. It doesn’t mean the creator has an obligation to never branch out or post things that are outside that scope. Because the content provided here is free. The blog isn’t selling you something, which is what irks me about goop – the pseudoscience is used to back the things they sell. EHD blog doesn’t sell anything; sometimes it sources things that go with the design advice, sure, but they’re not the seller.

      Tbh, this could very well be a blog with design advice for rich people, with expensive items and tips, or for poor people, all budget concerns, and it would still be fine: things can have different demographics. And yet, it isn’t. It has budget advices (more so recently, after some people stated their need for it) and more expensive advice, and us, readers, are perfectly capable to picking and choosing what can fit in our budgets, what we can DIY, what we want to splurge on, if we have the $. The blog does its job. If you don’t like roundups and linkups – that are a fundamental part of running a blog that gives, again, /free design advice/ – you are completely free to skip it. What’s the damage here?

      In this article Emily makes considerations about Goop that are her perspective. It’s ok if you think it came off as a tad hypocritical since she does the things she’s criticizing too (which I disagree, but I digress), it’s just not ok to come here and be so aggressive (offensive, tbh) for no reason.

      There are real issues with goop. There might even be real issues with the EHD brand. Calling them out respectfully because you want to see the platform grow and become more sustainable/interesting/reachable is all good, great even.

      Telling someone to “stay in their lanes” in such a haughty tone is just exhausting. Not to mention pointless.

  10. “It was (maybe?) unintentionally exclusive, mostly for wealthy people and inherently that is alienating to many, and when one feels alienated, it’s easy to be angry/dismissive.”

    This phrase describes this entire post. But apparently I’m instructed to not post anything blatantly negative, so am I allowed to hit “post”?

  11. As I read this post I found myself, in turns, nodding along, wrinkling my nose in skepticism, laughing at the butt shots, and generally changing feelings with every paragraph.

    Any conclusions about Goop aside, I really enjoyed this post, Emily! An interesting meta-reflection on lifestyle brands and the responsibility and perception of powerful women.

  12. Thanks for writing this! I honestly have always loved Goop and have followed along since her very first newsletter. I guess I take it worth a grain of salt? I do not take supplements, brain powders, jade eggs, vagina steams etc. I just read about it and move on because I just am not interested? What I do love are her recipes, travel recommendations, and recently the podcast. Not all of her travel advice is that extravagant. She suggest a many funky, low-key spots that are often some of my favorite parts of a trip. As you mentioned, the Podcast is fantastic, with truly amazing speakers. Elise also comes across as a grounded, well intentioned person. She often talks about issues that I feel like many people struggle with. I even had my husband listen to a few of them! I totally agree with your criticism of the Goop Wellness…I had never thought of it that way…but you are so right!

    Would love a blog post about the podcasts, self help books etc you have been reading this past year and half.

    Thanks!

  13. Thank you for such a kind and well considered post. I agree wholeheartedly with your criticism and found it to be the most worthwhile and constructive criticism of Goop that I’ve seen. Perhaps that is at the core of people’s discomfort with the Goop brand – its lack of clear underlying values? Or that the values it seems to operate under are so misaligned with most people’s core values?

  14. Hmmm, not sure why but it seems these days if you do not help others, you are considered to be less human. I do not believe that everybody has to help others, some people have it in them to help and some do not. And that is fine. I feel like a lot of USA bloggers and instagram influencers are all about helping others all of the time, that must get exhausting. It is not your job as a human to help everyone, help where you can and when you want and stop with this privilege bull shit.

    1. well, I have to disagree with your comment on a fundamental level. I really think people not helping each other is why the world is going to hell in a basket. The only way we can live better lives is to not only asking and getting, but also giving.

      but privilege is real. It doesn’t mean a certain group doesn’t have struggles or hardships, it just mean they stand on a certain ground where many common struggles and hardships don’t exist – like hunger, like racial prejudice, extreme poverty, lack of basic needs and rights. If you never go to bed hungry, is able to care for your kids, be healthy and not have to worry about very basic needs, then you’re privileged and I’m very happy for you. If you’re rich, that’s even more of a privilege, and it’s still fine. Just be aware that such privilege exists, since not everyone have this basic things we take for granted. Being aware keeps us humble and grateful, it’s good not only for the world – because we become more empathetic – but for ourselves as well 🙂

  15. I would like to respond from a generally sympathetic perspective here–I am a professional academic with the heart of a 90s “hippie” who loves your CA brightness–but to me this whole take is missing the mark. The fundamental point of Goop is not wellness (however one might define it), but rather security (power + money) and good taste.

    How many times have you been enticed by a holistic or alternative product that was designed in a way that struck you as tacky, dirty, ugly, etc.? Not that good taste can’t give someone a sense wellness—quite the opposite, IMO—but capitalist enterprises, which by definition will put profit over wellness, have understood how to manipulate medical skepticism, popular feminism, etc., for a long time.

    I disagree that GP’s exclusivity is/was unintentional. The opposite seems much more likely: her success can be attributed to very precise balancing of what will come off as exclusive to whom. There’s a reason the conference tix are 1k and not 5 (which I’m guessing they could probably pull off too)—“barely attainable” to a very precise and narrow demographic is no doubt exactly the mark they want to hit.

    A final thought: In GP’s world, is there room for the profoundly disabled, for the destitute, for the truly marginalized—not even in some 1st-world vs 3rd-world sense, but within the context of your own city? If not, stuff like this I think will never work as a model for living spiritually according to what seem like your own values. Why not seek wellness somewhere less fraught but truly alternative?

    1. Amen to this

    2. Yup.

      At the same time, I don’t excoriate Gwyneth Paltrow for creating a business. She’s hardly the only brand in this space. I think the criticism of her is plain old sexism. People feel the need to criticize, condemn and try to control her behavior in an extremely personal way – this doesn’t happen to men. If you don’t like her message, ignore it.

    3. Amen, my hippie skeptic friend.

    4. This this this

    5. This. I do wonder if a lot of the focus on well-being in a goopy, product-heavy sort of way isn’t a defence against being vulnerable, against the idea that shit happens to very nice people who absolutely don’t deserve it. Wouldn’t it be more productive if instead of buying expensive stuff that promises to fix it all (or *just wanting harder* – I have to say the ‘manifesting’ thing especially grates), we responded to this sort of fear by working to make our society a safe and welcoming place for everyone, by trying to make sure no-one’s basic needs go unmet, by just being there for someone around us who is struggling?

    6. This comment exactly.

    7. So many great points here. I don’t have a problem with Gwyneth Paltrow — I like her acting and think she’s a brilliant businesswoman. Good for her, and for the women she employs! But Goop’s branding as a wellness and spirituality brand opens it up to accountability by scientists, psychologists, and folx working to make the world a better place through social justice work — as it very much should be. If Goop stayed in its lane as a “we like beautiful things, here are some beautiful things you can buy from us!” company, I would find it a lot more genuine and appealing, rather than capitalizing on fear and insecurity surrounding health and self-improvement.

      1. Also wanted to add that I enjoyed reading Emily’s take (both the initial and the additions), but I don’t think it’s necessary for her to defend or justify her attendance at the summit. A family trip to Disneyland may cost $1000, and could also be seen as excessive and privileged and giving money to corporations that could do a hell of a lot more to help the world, but we don’t have the same angry reaction to Emily or another female blogger posting those pics. Could that have something to do with internalized misogyny? Maybe….

        1. Elisabeth: I think the issue is that Emily admitted to writing this post so she could claim her ticket as a tax write off. The tax she should have paid on that $1000 would have been used to fund hospitals, pay public servants, and maintain roads. By writing off the cost of the ticket, she is essentially taking money away from the rest of the country. It’s a tiny amount, but the attitude is problematic.

    8. This comment is the best comment of this entire thread. Thank you.

    9. So beautifully put, especially the last paragraph.

  16. We come here for design. Period.

    1. AMEN!

    2. I don’t. 😀

    3. I come here to read what Emily and her colleagues have to say about anything THEY decide to post about on THEIR blog. And if it interests me, I read it. But if it doesn’t, I don’t have a temper tantrum on the web about it.

      It ain’t that hard to scroll on by.

      1. I like your comment.:-)

    4. I bet you’re one of those people that gets angry when actors talk about politics.

    5. I don’t. I come for all of it, and if there’s something posted that I’m not interested in, I can choose to scroll on by.

    6. SAME! The survey she did said as much too!

    7. Is that the royal “we”? Whom are you speaking for? Not me.

    8. /You/ come here for the design. And it’s good, keep coming for the design and skip the rest of the post. We’ll all be happier.

      The world – or, more specifically, the people from EHD – don’t have to cater to your specific demands. Period.

    9. Please speak for yourself.

  17. I think that after reading this analysis, you may be my favorite influencer. The honesty, heart and care your brand has is what this world needs more. Thank you, Emily.

  18. *sigh*

    It’s easy to say she gets a lot of criticism because she’s a woman but I really don’t agree.

    ALOT of what she’s doing IS NOT new it’s just repackaged and appropriated for primarily rich white women from practices and cultural traditions of marginalized people.

    The entire concept of her work is classist and elitist and yeah folks absolutely have a right to be turned off by that.

    I hope you can reach out into the interwebs and read about the experiences of women of color at the Goop summit and in experience with her work overall.

    1. This. Thank you.

      The exclusivity and the endless sea of entitled white faces is just gross. So much of GOOP smacks of problematic white feminism, that self-absorption is okay so long as it feels good and whatever makes me feel better has to be good and if I feel good then I am good and… blah blah blah.

      We are guilty of so much cultural appropriation and burying our heads in the sand for “self preservation”. And this weekend, as people are debating whether children held in cages can be called concentration camps or not, it just feels extra crass.

      I will say that I really appreciate Emily and her writing here a lot. And as a neighbor I’m relieved she vaccinates her kids 🙂

      Also, I think the idea that we need to find our purpose to be happy is a trap that’s easy to fall into. I happen to think it’s inherently capitalistic bullshit and it’s hard to tune that noise out. It feeds into this sense of “if only…” or “as soon as I try X, everything will be better”. It’s endless.

      Maybe the EH team could intentionally highlight the work of WOC interior designers and artisans from places in the world we might never get to visit? Or even a series on writers like Ijeoma Oluo and Tayari Jones? I’d so appreciate it if the lens and the net were wider.

      1. Why not just highlight the best designers and writers regardless of their skin color?

        I have no idea what color anyone who is called out on this blog for their design or a home owner who has done something wonderful with their interiors.

        1. Because of people like you that think race doesn’t matter when it does. Just the fact that you felt offended enough to make this comment proves the original commenter’s point.

          I’m 95% sure that most of the people and products featured on this blog are white and sold by white folks. When you make the choice to only feature white folks, you’re showing your privilege plus not giving a chance to people of other races to benefit from being featured on a blog with such a large readership.

          People of color are excluded from the conversation in most rarefied circles in general, design being one of them. People need to not just talk about not being racist; they need to walk the walk as well.

  19. Thanks Emily for your honest assessment of the experience. I appreciate that you are willing to have these discussions on sensitive topics.

    I don’t have any problem with Gwyneth Paltrow. I actually don’t know her to have any opinion about her! I usually don’t have any opinion about celebrities because I believe what they put out in the world is usually another character they play not their real self. And that is the case with anyone in power or famous.

    But I have a lot of problems with GOOP. As a preventive medicine physicians and a public health researcher in the field of health equity I believe healthy lifestyle is for everyone and for any income. I have problem with brands such as GOOP that sell the idea of healthy living as something fancy and out of reach for 95% of people.

    To live healthy you don’t need to have GOOP type of income. You don’t need to spend $$$ on groceries every week and you definitely don’t need their funky health and wellness regimen. Everyone can buy fresh products in regular grocery stores, walk in their neighborhood or to work, and have quiet 8 hour sleep every night. That covers 90% of what you need to do to stay healthy.

    I have problem with brands that are selling the idea of living healthy as something expensive that a small portion of the society can afford. Living in a country with healthcare as a privilege for some (not all) we cannot turn healthy living also to a commodity not affordable for many.

    Those of us with a platform and sizeable followers also need to be sensitive about what we advertise or give publicity to.

    1. This. I like GP’s persona just fine – I’m a well-to-do Californian, I’m into the woo, I buy stuff. But Goop does seem to prey on the anxiety that remains when all basic needs are met, in kind of a tone-deaf way. If you have a lot of followers, in my moral code, you have a responsibility to do a good and honorable job, and I don’t think Goop does. I think she’d probably reduce more anxiety and promote more wellness if she advised her followers to volunteer, if she organized something like Habitat for Humanity. Research shows that having a purpose, and feeling gratitude, do more for self-health than crystals of any sort.

    2. This is absolutely out of touch. No, not everyone can have 8 hours of sleep at night. Or get fresh veggies-
      Have you heard of food deserts??

      Most of Emily’s readers can do these things, yes. But Mets be clear that not all Americans can. And to claim otherwise is completely out of touch with the reality of systemically oppressed and marginalized groups of Americans.

      Perhaps that was your point, that most of the readership for this blog can. But be specific.

    3. I agree to a point. Not everyone can be healthy, though. Everyone doesn’t have access to grocery stores stocked with inexpensive healthy food. Plus “inexpensive healthy food” is an oxymoron. It actually costs more to eat healthy than it does to eat at McDonalds every day. There is also such a thing as food desserts.

      Many poor people can’t sleep 8 hours a day or get exercise. They’re too busy trying to keep a roof over their heads and food in their stomach.

      1. Erika: as I read through the comment she section, I find myself wanting to high five you for all of your posts! You keep saying what I’m thinking!

        1. Well I’m glad what I’m saying is making sense to some people. I’m pretty sure I replied to one of yours as well.

  20. “Sure, she was born and raised wealthy and has aspired to turn her career as an actor into a lifestyle brand; people take issue with this, although they would probably never do this for a man.”

    That statement couldn’t be more true. I always thought I was a feminist but at age 47 I realize all these years I just “thought” I was. So many, many things like this have been overlooked for so many years.

    So I work with people with severe anxiety, PTSD, depression using “civilianized” yoga techniques such as different types of breathing. I used to be a yoga teacher for the elite. It was not fulfilling. Why….? Looking at the glowing health of all of these privileged people, however nice they are, reminds me of how clueless many could be about the real problems that the average American people are dealing with daily. And by the way, many of them ‘work their asses off’ too. Some people in my workshops have 3 jobs and they still can’t afford to buy shoes for their kids let alone $1000 tickets for a one day retreat.

    So I think that ‘the one’ thing about Goop, not focusing on service is actually one very huge thing. The power these women and men have to good in the world is just astounding. I wish they could turn their focus outward for just a bit, balance their ‘self-help’ with service. And here’s the real secret – their is nothing, and I mean nothing, more healing, powerful for the spirit, for the soul than helping others. That’s the real secret to Health. Feel free to share that secret 🙂

    1. I regret that I edited “can’t buy insulin for themselves” to “can’t afford to buy shoes for their kids.”

      I thought I sounded too dramatic. But it’s true and I regret changing that now.

      1. As a former Pilates instructor of 15 years (stopped being able to justify/cope with my life being all about Goop’s exact target demographic and the “wellness” industry that simply repackages new ways to keep women neurotic and insecure as hell, endlessly searching, striving, and naval gazing!) and the wife of a Type 1 diabetic I can absolutely relate to your post! And no, your comment about not being able to afford insulin is a very, very REAL challenge for many, many people! We’re fortunate enough to pay for it now (about $600 month out of pocket with our HD insurance plan!) which is a blessing but it absolutely impedes how much we’re able to save for retirement and his future insulin needs that will never go away (T1d is an autoimmune disease that attacked pancreas, NOT the result of poor lifestyle.), it is a constant stressor that never really goes away and we are doing well commpared to those who regularly ration their insulin because they have to choose between that and rent, electricity, school loan payments, etc….

        1. My daughter who is six is Type 1 too! (Sending you guys unicorns of happy blood sugar. ) She was diagnosed almost exactly a year ago and her chronic, incurable, life threatening disease costs us around $10,000 per year …and we have insurance.

          I used to live in a bubble where bad things happened to other people and I did my little share of helping others but it wasn’t until my glass walls shattered with her diagnosis I couldn’t stomach the trite, time sucking musings of vagina steaming whereas before I might have found it mindlessly entertaining. Now when I see suffering, I see it in a new way. I see troubled lives and think that it could easily be me, nothing lasts forever, after all. I’m no longer out of touch and that’s actually been a good wake up call.

          The real question becomes what are we deciding is worth watching and reading and who should have a voice? What is ultimately relevant? Never have we had so much control over where we get our news from, our programming from, platforms abound. And so, unrelatable and irrelevant sources of information and influence should naturally fade in obscurity in its own time, regardless of whether we criticize and pick it apart to death.

          I’m sure goop will go the way of the dodo and we’ll all look back and giggle at the Gordon Gecko-like excess of it all.

    2. Exactly.

    3. Your comment is inspiring to me, so thank you.

  21. Excellent post. You touch on these “hot” topics so well. As someone who was an uninformed GOOP hater I really enjoyed it and will try the podcast.

  22. Hmmm… the thing I keep telling my teenage daughter is: watch out for all the really expensive, mostly ineffective beauty “aids” that we as women are told we need. My whole problem with Goop and things like this is really about financial freedom. Which one of these things are marketed to men in the name of beauty, wellness, convenience , or self help/self care: lash extensions, self tanners, crystals, vag steaming, $500 purses, $150 moisturizers, highlighter, primer, bronzer, serums (and 10 skincare steps before you can leave the door), $100 leg and bikini waxing, adaptogen powders, yadda yadda. Why is it that in in age when more and more women are earning more money, we are being asked to spend so much of it in the name of self love? Has anyone else noticed that beauty routines went from a bottle of Nivea and a $2 razor to a 18 step process, some of which you need to visit a spa to do? No thanks. While preaching self acceptance and self love, we’re asked to buy a lot of products which indicate we’re not all that ok with ourselves and go broke doing it. Meanwhile it seems that men are keeping their money. And that’s my little diatribe for the moment. It’s really for my daughter and all the youngin’s our there with (already) beautiful skin, perfectly fine eyelashes and rocking bodies. Keep your money, ladies! You’re beautiful!

    1. I applaud your diatribe! 🙂

    2. Thank you Danielle for taking the time to write this.

    3. That’s capitalism for ya! They’ve made a multi-billion dollar beauty industry out of telling women they are not good enough. But even knowing that, it’s hard to cut through the BS and be happy with yourself, both physically and emotionally. Women have 80% of the buying power in this economy and are proven to make almost all of the financial decisions in the family unit, that’s why we’re targeted! We’ve got to take that buying power and use it for good – show big beauty industries that we don’t need all their “quick fixes” by opting out of buying those products. I am so happy to hear you are raising the next generation to be much more aware of what they are being shown in advertising and how to question the underlying message!

    4. Excellent points! Lovely diatribe.

    5. @Sim, keep that diatribe going!

    6. I just love this and couldn’t agree more. I would add that I wonder why we aspire to be among the elite and perfectly coiffed? Why do we spend our energy and our money to try to be “like them” when we might never? I’m learning to be ok with never attaining that level of wealth (my needs are met) and simultaneously being turned off by the pining for such a wasteful lifestyle. I hope to teach my daughter that we shouldn’t spend our one precious life wishing to be something or someone else, which these articles seem to tell us we should.

    7. Amen!

  23. Yes! Thank you for being so on point on why I’ve always been turned off by goop! And leaving me a little more open to what I could take away from what they offer 🙂

    One little note (as a science teacher) is the use of the word theory. People dismiss things as theories (theory of evolution, climate change, Big Bang, etc) thinking it means “we aren’t really sure!” But actually theory is just a term that means the explanation of how or why something happens based on observation. A law is an explanation of what happens (gravity, genes). The people at goop are presenting hypotheses or guesses or questions.

    1. Yes, this. There’s a *big* difference between the scientific sense of theory (as in “We’ve been chucking stuff at this model for 50 years now to see if we can disprove it and it seems to be holding up”) and some rich woman with a huge platform going “what I reckon is…” and being believed because of said platform. People think science is some sort of big monolithic authoritarian thing telling you what to do when really (on the inside at least – we do need to get a lot better at communicating this) it’s about an organised approach to doubt. It’s about realising there are lots of different contradictory opinions out there and having a process for assessing them that (when it’s working properly) doesn’t take into account what you want to be true or how powerful the people with each view are.
      I think that’s what drew me to science as a nerdy awkward teenager (massive shout-out to science teachers btw). This idea of equality, that if you come up with something interesting, people should listen to you regardless of who you are and that, conversely, being one of the popular kids isn’t going to help you if you can’t back up what you say. I do realise that’s an ideal, not always the reality, but I do think it’s closer than in many other areas of life and that it’s worth fighting for. And it’s so depressing when people are justifiably disappointed by our failure to live up to this ideal and turn to some person who claims to have all the answers (yours for just $1000).

  24. I am feeling confused and frustrated by this post because I do not understand the point of it. I wholeheartedly supported (and yelled YES!!!) the times you’ve taken a stand politically et al, or commented on what some view as controversial stuff, because, hey, that IS real life and we need take a moment and give voice to these things that matter and affect us — all of us.

    But this post – and the potential reasons for it(???) – leaves a bad taste in my mouth because it spotlights the “us and them” division in our society that has been sowed over the past few years that most of us are loath to. Political, cultural, racial, and geographical divisions in this country are striking and they are eating away at the fabric that used to make us feel, at least a little bit, united. Add female white privilege at – $1000 a pop – to this pot of angst and you can see the walls of these divisions growing taller.

    It’s totally fine that GOOP exists, I like Gwyneth enough and her on-stage cohorts but this post, it’s actual content, your take, and most importantly — the reason for it — leaves me disheartened and confused.

  25. Quote from Emily…“I don’t really know what they value, I don’t understand their “why” beyond creating interesting conversations and recommending the newest organic self-tanner.”

    I think Goop and Gwen (I refuse to call her Gwyneth) are slightly schizophrenic. Ultimately they are both about being curious and asking questions that make one consider health and personal well being. Both are thoughtful in a weirdly unrealistic but aspirational way. Both are easy targets for mockery and rage. But let’s admit SOME of that mockery and frustration is well deserved. They promote wellness but they don’t speak to wellness from the perspective of opening your heart to others and your life to stories that aren’t your own. They encourage thoughtful questions and being curious but they never dig deep into the answers that are beyond self care and more value based engagement. They espouse clean living without providing social and ethical clarity. And given the level of thought that goes into EVERY aspect of Goop it makes one wonder how thoughtful are they…really? It makes you feel icky about spending $1k on something that really does feel good but also makes you feel elitist. I don’t want to come off as lecturing or hectoring. I also don’t want to make Gwen and Goop the sole bearer of all that is wrong with wellness/race relations/privilege/access. Ultimately I say…Do. Better. Gwen. Do. Better. Goop. Until then I’ve stopped reading Goop and I don’t listen to the podcasts. I’m not canceling (I hate cancel culture) Gwen and Goop but I am lessening my engagement and my money. Because that’s MY self care. You asked for us to check our anger and negativity. To be respectful and constructive. I’m not angry and I don’t think I’m negative, what I really am is tired.

    I’m tired of rooms of elite privileged white people with a few sprinkles of people of color or blacks for flavoring. (That picture you posted of Tarij Hensen being the loan black women in a sea of whiteness…oof just bad optics). I’m tired of self help and self care being commoditized and becoming a question of access and privilege. I’m just exhausted by really well thought out brands rarely thinking about the health and welfare of those without access, privileges, and financial security.

    The personal concerns I have with Goop and Gwen is less about pusedoscience and more about access, privilege, and normalization. Core to most wellness concepts is balance. I’m wealthy enough to love a good face cream and even be able to afford to attend Goop events if I wish. But I’m balanced enough to know true wellness is a combination of self care and caring for those that don’t have what I have. Balance in all things even in privilege. Let’s dig into that.

    THE PERSONAL
    I’m not as privileged or elite as Gwen (who amongst us is?) But I am more privileged then most. I can afford Goop and I don’t have to check my bank balance to buy Goop products or take some of the great trips Goop shares in the travel section. I’m black and a women so there are trade offs to my privilege. Yet I am very aware that being cis-gendered, wealthy, happily married woman coming from an elite, educated, stable two parent home allows me access that most do not have. I have access to great healthcare so Yoga and Reiki are equal to my mammograms and annual physicals. Homeopathic remedies vetted by my physician who I see with no copay isn’t risky it is just interesting. I say this to acknowledge that despite my race I fall into Goops demographic. I am her target audience. And that alone is a privileged and elitist statement that makes me cringe.

    THE GOOD
    Gwen seems nice, cheerful and cheeky. Someone who you could have a glass of wine and chat with and you can walk away feeling good and vaguely inspired. She is easy and charming in a way that makes wealth and privilege seem breezy and non-threatening. She presents as both humble and incredulous in interviews. With a tinkling laugh to smooth over any missteps.

    I respect good branding and thoughtful design. Goop is an incredibly well marketed and branded. The brands color story, details, decor and imagery is artful lush feminine clean pretty and earthy. That CB2 collaboration is stunning. The Goop stores are decor goals. Goops website, books and newsletters are always ON BRAND.

    I’ve dabbled with Goop stuff but I’m not deeply engaged. I’d consider myself Slightly Goopy. My personal level of interaction with the brand is…I’ve listened to a few of the podcasts and read a few of the posts/articles in the newsletter. Ive tried few of goops creams and skin products. Ive bought the Goop cookbooks and I make a few recipes regularly.

    The company is run by a woman and mostly employees women so I’m supportive of the collective female empowerment. From a business perspective my spidey sense is tingling…I think Goop is angling for an IPO or M&A because in the last year and half the major talking point has been it’s a company worth $250M. Which given Honest Company’s failed IPO would be a big win for women owned health/wellness companies everywhere.

    THE BAD: ACCESS AND PRIVILEGE OF COMMODITIZED SELF CARE
    Goop had an article on “earthing”. Which means walking around barefoot promotes access to nature’s free electrons, which supposedly cure inflammation, arthritis, insomnia, and depression. A quote from the article that gave me the hives: “Of course, there’s also a primitive emotional effect from grounding via your bare feet, reconnecting with the earth, relaxing in nature.”

    Gwen was interviewed recently and discussed earthing. She said (quote): “So one of the things we like to do on goop is find what the alternative world says about feeling good in the modern-day world. So, earthing—I don’t actually know that much about earthing, and it came out of me not knowing anything about earthing but hearing about it. They say that we lost touch with sort of being barefoot in the earth, and there’s some sort of electromagnetic thing that we’re missing. It’s good to take your shoes off and walk in the grass.”
    The level of privilege in both the concept of earthing and the statements Gwen makes is…astoundingly obtuse. It verges on grotesque.

    To wit…a few salient facts I found online about shoes, health, access, and privilege. Shoes are much more than a fashion statement. Shoes play a major role in granting people health and access to opportunities. Across the world, around 300 million people cannot afford shoes. Shoes are often part of a school or work uniform, so without shoes, children and adults have a harder time getting an education or contributing to the household income. More than 20 million orphaned children are without shoes in sub-Saharan Africa, where temperatures frequently rise above 100 degrees. These harsh temperatures can be physically agonizing to bare feet.
    Orphaned or homeless children who are shoeless can be at further risk of injury if they search for food or other items in places like abandoned buildings and garbage dumps. They could step on glass, nails and other sharp objects that could cause an infection.
    People without shoes, especially in underdeveloped areas of Africa and Asia, are also susceptible to hookworm disease. A hookworm burrowing into the foot causes this parasitic disease. Hookworms live in soil or water contaminated by feces.
    Without treatment, hookworm disease and other parasitic infections can lead to chronic illness, amputations and death. Hookworm disease has adverse effects on school performance, childhood growth, work productivity and pregnancy, according to the World Health Organization.

    Goop and Gwen are bite sized wellness for those that can afford it and rich people who don’t understand why money doesn’t make tiredness and inflammation go away. Not once in the post on earthing does it mention how to support those that need shoes. Not once in interviews does Gwen talk about the health issues shoeless people may deal with. There isn’t even a link to a GoFundMe for poor people. It is shockingly myopic and dangerously elitist.

    THE BAD: NORMALIZATION AND INCLUSIVITY
    Goop and Gwen’s entire ethos rests on the foundation of being curious and asking questions. So here are some questions…Where are the black people? Where are the women wearing hijabs? Where are the trans people? That Goop room does not look or feel at all normal. If you are in a room that only has white people. You are in the wrong room. And I say this as someone who works in corporate America where I am typical the only black female leader in the room. So I know those rooms and I’m comfortable in those rooms but I’m very aware that those rooms are NOT normal. And that awareness makes me look for ways to balance those rooms. To make sure that questions are asked and thoughts are considered of those NOT in those rooms. Goop…not so much. Shonda Rhimes talks at length about how she isn’t interested in diversity she is interested in normalization. She defines normalization as…”I really hate the word ‘diversity,’ it suggests something…other. As if it is something…special. As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV. I have a different word: NORMALIZING. I’m normalizing TV. Making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal WAY more than 50% of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary. I am making the world of television look NORMAL…The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them. Because, perhaps then, they will learn from them.”

    So that takes us back to Gwen and Goop. And it rubs people the wrong way because the entire Goop philosophy of asking questions and being thoughtful STOPS at being thoughtful around normalization. That’s a bad business decision and directly opposite Goops own position on being thoughtful and asking questions. From a business perspective it shocks me because…Black Panther the movie has made and surpassed movie records. FENTY Beauty was one of Time Magazines best inventions of 2017. And that’s due largely in part to the world wide thankful response by minority women to a beauty brand that included them from the outset. Normalizing is just good business. PLUS it’s ethically and morally sound. And it achieves the balance of wellness whilst also allowing women to put themselves first.

    1. You are fricking awesome. Thank you.

    2. Such a well written commentary on privilege. Thank you.

    3. Danielle, I love what you’ve said. You care enough to fully explain your views. I’ve copied some of your paragraphs and want to read them each day to let what you’ve said (and you quoted others, I know) sink in. Thank you.

    4. BOOM! I will send you a golden microphone because you deserve one that you can drop after comments like this.

    5. Wow. Beautifully put. Love this.

    6. Thank you for the articulate, educational, and thorough comment. I would love to have a glass of wine with *you*! If you had a blog I would follow.

      1. For those that reacted to my comments…….wow…Thanks for liking what I said. It really makes me feel heard and understood. More importantly it makes me feel like conversations like these can contain multitudes and truly give food for thought. I’m just really passionate about brands and those with powerful platforms doing better. It isn’t hard it just means being really deliberate. And brands or powerful people that espouse deliberate choices must hold themselves to a higher standard. Plus…whenever a rich white person uses the word primitive to describe something…yikes…tell tale sign your coming up on some cultural appropriation. Pro tip. Anyway I do love a lot about Goop and Gwen’s presentation/aesthetic but they just have to do better and truly live up to their own ideals.

        1. Thank you Danielle. I spent far too long reading the long list of comments hoping to read someone as articulate and informed as you contribute her reply. It was worth it! I needed your analysis and perspective to understand better the complex dynamics at work here from goop itself, to Emily’s take, and even the reaction in the comments. I used to follow goop out of a general curiosity and interest in health/wellness/travel. I unsubscribed some years ago but would occasionally read an article by someone I wanted to hear from, or try a new recipe. I just listened to the podcast episode with Brene Brown and found it genuine. But even more importantly, I would like to listen to an episode of the podcast with you as a guest, because what you are saying is every bit as valuable and needs amplification. If you can publish your perspective further afield I encourage you to do so. I am going to save your comments to re-read and process further. Thank you again.

    7. 10000000% this 🙂

    8. So insightful and well written.

    9. I thought this comment was too long to read but am glad i did! Super insightful!

    10. Thank you for bringing needed awareness to the less priveleged. I sometimes think that I’m the only one that sees the disparaties in our world. I chose to help others for a living so I definitely don’t have a GOOP budget. Reading your post made me realize that there are others out there who “get it”.

    11. Your comment post deserves to be framed. No! Published in an op ed. Then framed. Then you should do a press tour too 😉
      But seriously, amazingly thoughtful well written and thank you for the insight. I’m better for having read it.

    12. Thank you.

    13. Love your well articulated thoughts. Very informative for some one like me. Thank you.

    14. Well I was going to comment but now I don’t need to – this is everything! Thank you for taking the time to write such thoughtful words. Personally I just find the whole Goop philosophy gross – spending that much time and money on tweaking yourself to perfection is jaw-droppingly self-absorbed. If you have that much privilege to spare then use it to help other people and the planet. I agree with you – true wellbeing comes from giving back.

    15. Powerful words Danielle. THIS is better than the article. More of this, please!

      Sorry, Emily – this is the first article of your’s that made me feel really icky. Like Adele, I’ve wholeheartedly enjoyed your foray’s from design content. But this doesn’t feel authentic to the Emily Henderson brand. It’s clumsy, and it feels disingenuous.

      Sure, this is your space to post what you want. I haven’t paid for this article – the whole of the blog is free and I can just click away. Maybe I have no right to feel frustrated by this?

      Maybe it’s naive of me to expect that the brands I support participate in ethical social discussions.

      1. Agree wholeheartedly

    16. Danielle, your comment was compelling, thoughtful, and well written. I wish more could read it who aren’t just following this comment thread on this blog.

    17. 👏🏽 👏🏽 👏🏽

    18. Danielle, RIGHT ON.

    19. Wonderfully thought out and written, thank you Danielle for taking the time to do it. Brava!!!

    20. Your comment was worth the time I’ve spent on this topic. Thank you. I hope Emily reads it.

    21. OMG! I love this. Your words are inspiring and grounding. I agree with another comment, I could read this everyday and everyday and everyday. I am often struck by news photos that show a sea of whiteness, thinking, “This does not look like the world I live in.” The world I live in, which has its own degrees of “whiteness,” is still more colorful, richer, more textured and nuanced, and is, what I consider, the “normal” world. It is craggy and often uncomfortable. But, it makes me think, makes me question and confront the rightness and wrongness of the scars and unbeautifullness that weave in and out of the landscape I inhabit. And, ultimately, that is the world I WANT to be a part of. I want to be both grateful for and question the place I hold in that landscape. Thank you, @Danielle!

    22. This is interesting commentary on goop. The EHD post seemed out of touch. Trying to please everyone, but really coming off as hypocritical.

    23. Thank you Danielle!! I completely agree with a previous commenter: more of this!

    24. ALL OF THIS THANK YOU DANIELLE

    25. I agree, but I would also add that GOOPs “curiosity” is entirely a front for their “exit through the gift shop” marketing… are you tired? Click here and buy our vitamins, youre tired because you probably have a genetic mutation that doesn’t allow you to break down regular cheap vitamins, so we’ve created these. Literally. It’s a modern day infomercial. You can only take it so seriously when the “articles” are literally advertisements for GP products, right? Typed while sipping moon dust smoothie.

    26. I seem to be the only one who didn’t like this comment but “I refuse to call her Gwyneth” is patronising, elitist and childish. You started off badly and are behaving the same way you accuse GP of behaving.

      1. I 100% agree, Victoria. I couldn’t read her entire comment because I could not give my time to someone who refuses to call another person by THEIR GIVEN NAME. Also, she opened by calling Gwyneth “schizophrenic” – irresponsible, hurtful and further stigmatizing to those who live with mental illness. Her comments should not be applauded, but rather disregarded completely.

    27. Danielle, thank you for one of the most thoughtful, eloquent and reflective comments I’ve read so far about this topic. Much appreciated for your time and honesty in sharing your thoughts publicly.

    28. Thanks for sharing Danielle, this is a great perspective.

    29. I need more of this! Can anyone recommend good sources for additional info around these issues? I have so much learning/unlearning to do.

      To Emily: Thank you for keeping your post up. Look at the valuable conversation and education it has generated. Also, maybe invite Danielle here to consult or do a guest post?

      1. oh good idea!!!

    30. Yes. This comment exactly.

      1. Is it okay to have a “sea of ness”?
        Is it okay for a Muslim website to have a sea of hijabs, or a BET commercial to have a sea of darker skin tones?

        Asking sincerely – wondering if we should make ALL representations of all people include all colors. I am truly wondering what the ideal should be.

  26. I appreciate how you focus on Goop and the brand vs Gwyneth.I think it’s interesting how successful Goop is considering they don’t appear to give back in the community/they only appeal to a successful white audience. I’ll have to check that out. I prefer to shop brands that are helping whether it’s sourcing ingredients locally, paying fair wages,donating profits to a good cause etc. I basically just like to shop brands that simply DO GOOD. I think it’s a millennial thing. If you left the brand conference and felt “gross and guilty” that’s probably not a product i would buy again. I will try and give the podcast a listen though. You make it seem like it’s more relatable/educational than I previously had thought.

  27. Do I think that GP is intentionally harmful? No. That doesn’t mean she isn’t. If what you’re doing is buying some crystals and moon dust in ADDITION to regular visits to your doctor and/or therapist, then fine. In that very specific scenario, I’ll accept your argument of ‘we don’t know it doesn’t work/it can’t hurt.’ But there’s a vulnerable segment of (mostly) women who are taking this kind of advice IN PLACE OF legitimate medical treatment, for whatever reason. And that’s without even touching the things she’s endorsed that are actively harmful (vagina steaming!! Don’t do it!)
    Look, the whole ‘self-care’ industry comes from a place of privilege. You’re not debating which face mask you’re going to use each night if you’re working three jobs just to pay rent. You’re not weighing the benefits of different ‘detox’ plans if you’re disabled or suffering from chronic illnesses. And I say this as a privileged person! But maybe what I find off-putting about GP is how un-aware of her privilege she seems to be. And I think that extends to many of her followers.

  28. Thanks, as always, for sharing your well-thought our opinion, Emily! I read through this whole post and now am checking out the podcast- I appreciate you diving into these topics… I am not just here for “design”. To me it all relates!

  29. Yay, Emily! My first comment on your blog was inquiring why so many of the blog/instagram designers are Mormon. It seemed to wad up panties left and right with no reply from the EH team. As an anthro major in college, I was asking with genuine curiosity and no agenda, either way.

    I applaud your vulnerability in discussing your spiritual journey. I’m middle class, so goop’s product promotion is well beyond my $ scope. That said, I am a nanny to a high net worth family (nanny fam is neurosurgeon/obgyn parents). I’ve taken five yoga teacher trainings, so I’ve drank the hippie koolaid in large doses. I have great convos with the neurosurgeon – ie: pain and anxiety light up the very same areas of the amygdala. Dry needling in western med and acupuncture. Instead of polarizing, I enjoy merging theories between the seemingly disparate spheres of “western” and “alternative” thinking. Take what works for you and move the $:*># on when something doesn’t speak to you. I make a green drink in my vitamin every morning and get vaccinated.

    Create good where you possess the power to do so and invoke conversation around topics that you would like to impact, but lack the traction to do so. Alrighty, I’m getting off of my soap box.

    Again, I applaud your risk in speaking of this. I have zero knowledge of goop or GP beyond her roles in ‘90s movies. Hidden Brain and 99% Invisible are more my speed, podcast-wise.

    Keep sharing beauty and showing us little bits of who you are. I imagine it must feel scary, but it distinguishes you amongst a world of beautiful design with muted (or blatant) Christian undertones.

    1. Megan, did you ever get an answer (even if not from the EH team) about the Mormon-mom-design-blogger phenomenon? It’s too much to unpack here, but coming from that background, I’d say it has everything to do with options available to curious, talented, ambitious women in a culture that prizes domesticity, appearances, success, engagement, and community while discouraging employment for mothers.

      1. I think NYT ran a piece on it ages ago. From memory it also mentioned that there is a culture of journalling among Mormon women – which lends itself well to doing a regular blog. I also find it a very interesting phenomena.

  30. Brands are here to sell you stuff. That’s all. Be skeptical and participate to the extent you can afford it but please realize that goop or any other brand doesn’t care if you’re healthy, happy or wise.

    Here’s a pull quote from my favorite brand article from last year:

    If you cut a brand, it doesn’t bleed. You can’t hurt a brand’s feelings. No brand has a photo of itself from sixth-grade picture day, looking awkward with braces and the beginnings of teenage acne. Companies aren’t people, they aren’t your friends, they don’t have your best interest at heart, and they’re certainly not feminists. You may have to work for one to earn money and buy things from them in order to live your life, but the only clear-eyed way to regard a corporation is, at best, as an adversary. No matter what they might say when trying to separate you from your money, that’s certainly how brands see you.

    Here’s the link to the article. https://www.racked.com/2018/7/18/17578786/feminist-brand-apparel-capitalism

    1. Robin- I have to disagree here. There are SO many small brands and companies that are owned and successful because of PEOPLE. These people all have photos of themselves they don’t love. They have all kinds of feelings wrapped up in their brand and business and many of them are women. They spend time away from their family and friends to bring you goods and services every single day. That may not be the way Goop runs but it is the way so many companies run. So for the benefit of every person out there running a brand or business remember there are people on the receiving end of your emails, orders and comments. Treat people the way you wish to be treated and do us as business owners a favor and don’t generalize us into a category that doesn’t fit everyone. People are behind everything and if you choose to do business with any company big or small someone who has feelings is behind what you are buying.

  31. barf. gwen never recognizes her privilege and that to me is the problem. Also, have u seen her head of digital is doing ig proposal. https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/06/was-viral-proposal-staged/592141/

    all the worst parts of the social media and ig. she could do better. i do thing she is a good egg but that doesn’t make it OK that people are paying 1K when that is what a lot of ppl paycheck looks like in a month. Why don’t they do a volunteer summit. Leave LA. Discover this country. What does self-care look like to ordinary women in Iowa or on the border in Texas? I could get behind that.

  32. As a health care provider and doula, I have to unwind and re-teach do to the dumb shit she sells. It is HARMFUL and infuriating!!!!

  33. Eh, for most seemly-woo woo things that aren’t actively harmful, I generally think, “well that’s just not for me”. If putting a crystal in your pocket makes you feel better, go for it (just make sure you’re not claiming it can cure cancer or the like, which would be actively harmful).

    The only thing that really bugs me has less to go with GOOP specifically and more with the “wellness” industry in general, which claims to be all about making you feel better but really is just another way to acquire an eating disorder (“feel better” is often equated with “be thinner”). As someone who has survived a nasty ED, I know triggering language centered around food when I see it.

  34. Extremely trivial, but WHY does she talk so slowly during the ad breaks?!?! It drives me insane. Otherwise, I think the podcasts are great 🙂

  35. Personally I would be far more freaked out if Emily announced she was a Scientologist. But I don’t lose any sleep over either Goop or its famous founder.

    That said, I have wondered why you bother to mention Goop on the Sunday features and why you went to this overpriced Goopapalooza (Hee!) so thanks for this post. It makes clear what you get out of the podcast & of Goop. It’s not for me but who am I to judge what inspires someone else.

  36. Let’s agree to disagree ladies. Goop is exactly what it is. A program for wealthy elite women. You can hate or you can join the club. I for one grew up poor but am upper middle class and will never truly relate to the articles or the products. I am open minded and even have a few crystals and meditate but to live out this bohemian life of excess is beyond me. I’m supportive of her because she’s a female and a mom. All of our struggles are real but to identify myself as a woman who needs all of those “overpriced” supplements and products is just incomprehensible. I love my life with meaning by just enjoying each moment I can with my family and I treat others with kindness and to self care for myself is to take some time and do what I love. I don’t need a lifestyle coach like these celebrities are aiming to be to tell me how to better myself. I think those who don’t know how should really write in a journal and read it back. Right in there is your own GOOP without the pricetag. Your self worth is not in those supplements and expensive trips. It is in knowing who you are…your journey…and how you treat others.

  37. to be honest, i was more of a goop fan before reading this post, but it brought up some questions. why would i want to be a follower of a brand that caters to wealthier, white women? not being a member of the demo group myself, why would I want to keep up with a brand that isn’t inclusive of people like me?

    also, i wish there was more room for argument in the goop podcast. the only experts they bring in are those that align with their brand, which yes, works from a marketing perspective. As a listener though, it makes the podcast less credible for me.

    1. WHY is the Goop brand specific to wealthy, white women? Particularly the ‘white women’ part? Are they literally saying ‘You need to be white to use my brand?” This is so weird to me!

      We are all individuals here! We can use a company (or parts of a company), or not use a company. The power is OURS. The beauty is that no one says I need to buy Ecko or that I need to buy Rolex. I’m stronger than marketing! The power is not Goop’s or any other brand’s.

      Emily’s brand shows us multi-thousand dollar sofas and art. That’s out of my demographic! (Maybe Goop sells some products for fair skin? I don’t know; I don’t use Goop.) But it doesn’t mean I have to stay away from the entire business. I’m grateful that it’s my choice to pick and choose from companies to my desire.

      1. I’m with you. Thanks for sharing your perspective, it’s what I was thinking too throughout the whole post and comments. I actually love the Goop podcast but will never buy any of the products. I’m super thankful for all of the free content they produce for me weekly!

  38. Emily I love you and I will never get tired of making fun of you and Jen and Kelly for playing with magic crystals. I LOVE YOU I LOVE I LOVE YOU BYE.

    1. And that is how you show up for a friend.

    2. Given the all caps (because that’s how you do on IG)…I think this must be Orlando S!!! Loving your new show dude!

    3. Yeah, it’s Orlando!! *heart eyes*

  39. What was in the gift bag??

  40. I really like the Goop podcast except for the ads which seem elitist. I am not even sure what demographic the ads are meant for but definitely not mine.

  41. This is a great analysis on Goop. Like anything, you have to be critical of what is (woman-centered) marketing and what may actually be beneficial information. Its not 100% or nothing. I had infertility for 5 years before i sought out a Chinese Medicine Doctor, and got pregnant within 9 months of seeing her so, I totally see and believe in the benefits of treating mind and body. I do wish GP would recognize her privilege more but, I think she has also decided that is not her brand. Thanks for your objective opinion!

  42. Just thinking out loud and curious what others think. Yes, GOOP is incredibly elitist and only caters to a small portion of the population. However, isn’t there a trickle down affect to some extent? Mental health, clean beauty, better cleaning products, better food (less sugar, diary) are now more common for a larger population. Maybe I can’t purchase the exact same cleaning product that GOOP recommends but now I can go to Target and purchase something similar. Similarly with make up. I can’t afford the ones that GOOP sells but I can now try and find alternatives at a different price point.

    I do not disagree with GOOP pushing products on woman in order to be a “better person”. Also, disagree with their health advice that is completely lacking in evidence. BUT I do think other ideas they promote (healthy eating, clean products etc.) are now more common in the mass market.

    1. I think this is a really interesting comment. The idea that Goop and other high end wellness brands provide a platform for less expensive options. I’ve never thought about it from that perspective. My initial reaction is I’m very well off but I’m always uncomfortable with the idea of trickle down economics. It doesn’t trickle wide enough or deep enough. Again Goop is just a symbol of this and is not the solely the bearer of all things wrong with wellness and wealth. But I really like your idea around tracing the rising tide of clean living to brands such as Goop. I’m going to think deeply about that.

    2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I realise you meant to be really balanced here and I hope what follows isn’t too pointed. As someone training to work in healthcare in a country with a free, universal health system, this really rubs me the wrong way. Having safe food and cleaning products available to you shouldn’t be a question of following influencers. It shouldn’t even be an individual responsibility on you – who has the time to sift through piles of scientific evidence to decide whether everything they touch is safe or not (definitely wouldn’t recommend just trusting Gwyneth)? Healthy living shouldn’t be some niche lifestyle choice you have to actively seek out and struggle to afford. Good healthcare, including mental health, isn’t something we should cross our fingers and hope will eventually trickle down from the wealthy to the occasional worthy less-wealthy person who has been reading the right blogs. It’s something we should fight to make sure nobody is without. And yes, this includes people who don’t read wellness blogs, people who don’t eat their veg, people who might not seem all that deserving or appealing to us in one way or another. Everyone. Stuff happens to everyone, no matter how nice or well-informed or deserving, so everyone should also have access to all the safety and help the rest of us can provide them when they’re struggling.

  43. I’ve never followed her, mainly because I didn’t like it when she revealed her mean side toward Martha Stewart. This seminar and her brand seem to be about the promotion of white privilege. She calls to mind Marie Antoinette. But hey, if rich women want to buy her snake oil, that’s their business, not mine. I will now go back to not giving her a thought.

  44. Hi Emily! First of all, I just have to say I love your blog and I’m glad you addressed this in a respectful way! You would probably like this profile of Gwyneth Paltrow in The NY Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/25/magazine/big-business-gwyneth-paltrow-wellness.html I personally like how she is creating a conversation about wellness and causing us to think outside the box.

    Also, I noticed you have brought up being on a spiritual journey before. I would love to hear more about it, but at the same time I get that’s a really personal thing! One thing that has been helpful for me is to read the Bible chronologically or just the specific gospels written during the life of Jesus (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John).

    Wishing you the best in Your spiritual journey!

  45. So well written. I had a hard time sifting through the media muck to understand what the hubbub is about or how I’m “supposed” to feel about Goop or GP. But this was really well balanced. Admire your objectivity! So very refreshing <3

  46. Thanks for this in-depth review, Emily. I agree that we were put on this beautiful earth to help others, but I disagree that “it’s the responsibility of the elite to serve others…” It is the responsibility of EACH of us to help others. This is what is means to be human. ❤️💛💚💙💜

  47. I am a sane, college-educated mom who, when they’re not priced exorbitantly, buys organic strawberries at the store. I am a design lover, in the Emily Henderson Design reader demographic!

    I want to give a shout out and represent the moms who adjust their vaccination schedules for their kids.

    I don’t do this because it’s popular or easy or because I’m lazy, but similar to parents who weigh whether a drug and its side effects is something they want to give to their child for the particular scenario, I weigh each and every vaccination on the CDC schedule as to the timing and whether the risk is worth the reward.

    One example is Hep B – something I choose to give to my kids at an older age, instead of at birth. The Hep B vaccines contain 250 micrograms of aluminum per dose. (This isn’t made up!) Similar to not wanting aluminum (or BPA or lead or etc.) to leach into my kids’ bodies, placing this much aluminum in my child’s body is something I’m watchful about. Since Hep B is spread through needles, contaminated blood, and sexual contact, I feel this risk is not strong for my babies.

    Just want to represent the vaccine-questioners, and I hope readers have an open mind and can welcome me into their hearts!

    1. Absolutely not. Don’t even want to open that door. As a mom of a 1 and a 5 years old living in a high risk area and someone who is immune to the varicella vaccine (after 3 tries it just doesn’t take!) I will never be friends or respect someone who doesn’t vaccinate for their children or my children.

      I get that you are sneakily trying to open this door by seeming reasonable and using word like “questioner” and absolutely not – don’t want this door open at all. Also how in the world is it relevant to this post – just spewing harmful propaganda. Ugh No other topic makes me this angry.

    2. What you are doing here is just spreading fear. If you have a specific reason for believing that the Hep B vaccine is harmful, please say so and let’s have a discussion on the evidence for that, rather than this sort of innuendo and taking things out of context so that they sound vaguely scary. To really ‘weigh’ the risks and benefits, you need to read the actual scientific literature on vaccines (not just bits taken out of context and presented to you by someone else), which I would urge everyone to do if interested. Also, Hepatitis B is in fact mostly spread mother to child during childbirth. A large proportion of the world population is infected without knowing it. This is why the vaccine is given to children as soon as possible. And can we just note in passing the implication that *your* children unlike other, less careful, mothers’ children will never do drugs, have sex, end up in contact with someone else’s blood etc?

      1. Anna, I am NOT an anti-vaxxer and I agree with you 100% about the need for the Hep B vax at birth, for the reason you said. But I’m laughing at your last line. Becca said she doesn’t feel the risk is strong for her “babies”. (Which she clarified as being LITERAL BABIES by saying she would give the vax to her kids at an older age, instead of at birth.) There is no implication here that other mothers are “less careful” than she is. What she is saying is that newborn babies do not have sex or inject IV drugs. No matter how sloppy the parenting. So she’s missed the point about Hep B being transmitted during childbirth, and you were right to call her on that. But I think you need to re-read what she actually said before you take offence to it as some sort of “holier than thou” statement, which it clearly isn’t. And secondly, you asked her to give a specific reason, but she already did. 250 micrograms of aluminium per dose. That’s pretty specific.

        As already stated, I disagree entirely with her conclusions, I just think it helps to listen carefully and hear what someone has actually said before jumping in with critique.

    3. Do you know people actually analysed this? We actually get much more aluminium into our system daily with food and cosmetics than we ever could with a single vaccine dose. The numbers are all out there, if you google it, as well as the safe limits.

      1. I completely respect people making a choice to get or to give their children the HepB vaccine.

        I’ve spent a bunch of time researching this topic, because I’ve been torn both ways.

        The difference is the 250 micrograms of aluminum being deposited intramuscularly into the body. The adult daily maximum for parenteral (IV or IM) aluminum is 50 micrograms. It’s not good to ingest alumunium, either, but the effects are not the same as a shot. Humans are efficient at eliminating the aluminum that enters through food and water. Very little that enters through food and water is ultimately absorbed, and the little that is absorbed is excreted in the kidneys. Of the amount injected intramuscularly, most of the aluminum gets taken up by the body in bone and brain tissue, where it exerts its toxicity.

        I am definitely in support of giving the HepB vaccine to babies when the mother is positive for HepB. If the mother is not positive for HepB, then that particular need for coverage does not exist. (And if the mother doesn’t know if she’s positive or negative, I’m in support of giving the vaccine.)

        I’m also in support of giving the vaccine to individuals who are on the cusp of doing drugs, having sex, and coming in contact with someone else’s blood – completely supportive. But doing the risk/benefit analysis for an individual newborn – it is possible that a mother could determine the risk is not worth it.

        One of the important things to me is that the parent or individual make their own choices about what to inject in their body.

    4. Becca,
      You should read a book called the Science of Mom, which has a chapter on vaccines, what is exactly is in them and why they are safe. For example, it compares aluminum you will get from them versus what you obtain from eating food that has been previously wrapped in foil. The CDC have designed the current vaccination schedule to be optimal to when/how diseases are transmitted. For example, as somebody else mentioned hepatitis B can be transmitted during childbirth. It also discusses other post-birth treatments like eye ointments that are not really necessary in the developed world. I really do recommend this book to everyone because rather than admonishing you for wanting to know why babies get so many vaccines when they are young, it respectfully explains the scientific rationale for this.

  48. There are some great comments here, and I don’t have a lot to add to that. Short take – as a long time reader, I think Emily did a fantastic job on the post, esp in describing Goop marketing – how interesting! The comments have been fascinating as well – love this community…

    So – my thoughts… As an MD PhD, I take exception to the ‘functional medical doctor’ class (but that’s me). It is really nice, as an asian american, to hear Emily call out the event for not being inclusive (especially when so much of Goop draws beyond ‘western’ medicine). As a Christian, it makes perfect sense that people are not called to give. In the Screwtape Letters, CS Lewis comments that “the characteristic of Pains and Pleasures is that they are unmistakably real, and therefore, as far as they go, give the man who feels them a touchstone of reality.” By excluding the ‘normalizing’ factor of helping those who are poor or sick, Goop is able to magnify 1st world (and genuine) problems like loneliness or lack of fulfillment and propose patchwork woo that will not actually fix those problems. Ah well, some things never change – at least they have great packaging 🙂

    1. SPOT ON!!! I want to shout your comment from the rooftops!!!!!

      “By excluding the ‘normalizing’ factor of helping those who are poor or sick, Goop is able to magnify 1st world (and genuine) problems like loneliness or lack of fulfillment and propose patchwork woo that will not actually fix those problems.”

  49. I think you meant fleshed out

    1. Thank you!

  50. I appreciate your honesty! I also love that you were brave enough to confront your own bias and fears in front of a large opinionated audience. It’s nice to see a lovely human being trying to figure this s$&@ out with earnestness and respect.

  51. Thank you as always for your bracing honesty and transparency. It definitely models the way for the rest of us.

    I think Goop and Gwyneth enflame passionate responses from so many subsets of interest: classism, racism, privilege, (pseudo) science, conspicuous consumption, and more. The brand intersects in so many areas that have vocal critics and does seem to be about little more than self-interest. It’s a problematic space to inhabit without controversy.

  52. 👍🏼👍🏼

  53. I commented at length yesterday/above on your original post. I’ve come back to comment on your new points/thesis statements. This is long…and references points I made yesterday…again I am not lecturing or hectoring or trying to make Gwen/Goop all that is wrong or right with the wellness community. We all can only do what we can do. We all do what sparks joy what resonates personally. I hope this comment helps provide additional sparks. I hope these comments resonate.

    Be well.
    DK

    RESPONSE TO POINT 1
    There is a lot to unpack in your first point. From your own experience with class and wealth to your reaction to being at all white events. I’m going to start with your personal history with class and wealth. Let us all admit that there are class dynamics and wealth dynamics at play in this country. We as Americans usually think class isn’t important. Mostly because America idealizes anyone can be anything/pull yourself up by your bootstraps mentality. Which makes it difficult to admit we are a classicist society. Our democracy allows for some fluidity between classes but the lines are pretty clear. You (Emily) grew up in a higher class (access, education, stability, conventional social norms, more resources, better services, etc). But you didn’t have the money/wealth of that class. And money matters. In both good ways and bad ways money really changes things. As an adult you now exist both as a wealthy person with actual money, living in a wealthy city in the top 1% class. That means you can and do take advantage of all the resources and benefits of your class. But the money you made is from that bootstraps/hard-work mentality America so admires. And given that it is jarring to be in the same rarefied air you grew up in with the new found ability to do as you please. And let’s be clear….That Goop summit was filled with what is defined as wealthy and the 1% (see below). So yes, you had a bit of a shame reaction. A bit of am I what I hated as a child? Quote from Emily “I have a bias against the wealthy, despite NOW being one of them. This is not GOOP’s fault….I knew that I was supporting a company that was embracing their wealth….”I’m going to say something out loud that may seem controversial but it is how I feel. Nothing is wrong with being happy about being rich. Being wealthy is great. Having money makes things easier. I like being wealthy. Those statements are weird, but they are true. I’m ok with it. But here is where it doesn’t make me feel good. Here is where it is not ok. Goop and Gwen and the event you attended…you were at an event about wellness with a company that focuses on self care AND knowledge….but the event physically and emotionally demonstrated wellness equals wealth because ONLY money gets you in that room. And only money allows you to buy or use the products in that room. And the people in that room represented not just wealth, class, but ALSO race. And when you are in a room that hits all three layers of American society in a demonstrable way of excess…well it gets icky. It feels uncomfortable. And it SHOULD. That is some very rare white air you were breathing.

    Quote from Emily “sometimes embodying a stereotype so perfectly can be embarrassing when confronted by a group who also embody this. I’ve been at blogger events where the racial demographic was the same…”

    So let’s talk about race. Because that figures heavily into this. As I said yesterday/above that image of Tarij Hensen being the one and only black women sourinded by a sea of VERY white women…oof…not good optics. Because race is the ultimate equalizer when it comes to class. Which means no matter how well off I am and how comfortable/happy I am with my money I’m still a black women in America. So riddle me this…As a design queen (Yasss queen) and home decor tastemaker do you (Emily) find it “interesting” that most of the power home decor blogs and instagramers are white females/white families???? There are a few minorities like Justina Blakely and Afrochic but for the most part it’s white people. You (Emily) mentioned being at blogger events that were mostly white. I’m assuming those blogger events lacked normalization in others ways such as the non-gendered or Muslims. I said yesterday/in comments above and I’ll say again…quote “That Goop room does not look or feel at all normal. If you are in a room that only has white people….You are in the wrong room. And I say this as someone who works in corporate America where I am typically the only black female leader in the room. So I know those rooms and I’m comfortable in those rooms but I’m very aware that those rooms are NOT normal. And that awareness makes me look for ways to balance those rooms. To make sure that questions are asked and thoughts are considered of those NOT in those rooms. Goop…not so much.” I also quoted Shonda Rhimes and how/why normalization matters. Representation and normalization is critical to BALANCE which is the core of WELLNESS. Only those that are in power can advocate for that. The fact that our wellness comes mostly from white women is….unfortunate. This is not your problem or your fault. But you (Emily) and your blog do represent a type of typical white blogger.
    I get it…you’re white, ex-Mormon, and wealthy…there may not be very many “others” / minorities in your business life and thus in your brand. Except for your nanny your staff has always been white (well Orlando is Hispanic but you get my drift). But someone like you (Emily) has an opportunity to challenge racism and myopic thinking because your site can transcend the limitations of geography, class, and culture in a way that others can not. You could change the rooms you are in (literally). You cold normalize them. Which means Goop could too. And Goop doesn’t.

    RESPONSE TO POINTS 2 AND 3
    Goop IS good, but it’s also icky and Goopy. Gwen and Goop could use their power and position to subtly change and depict black, trans, minority, disabled, and Muslim women in a manner that is inclusive AND wellness focused. They don’t need to do it often but they can choose to do it regularly. And by making that choice they could show show that wellness, balance, being curious is both self care and caring for others. They could invite women of color with free tickets. They could feature local small minority owned business booths. They could include a panel on wellness in other communities (Trans people medical support/visits and black maternal mortality are communities that could do with support from the wellness community.) It could become a part of the Goop ethos. Not an app or random donation but actual deliberate wellness of the community being wellness for yourself.

    Goop does give to charities (odd you didn’t know that) there are four they give to. I’ve donated to the David Lunch Foundation per Goops recommendation. Gwen was a big donor to the Democratic Party I’m assuming she gives to charities as well. On the podcasts I’ve listened to Gwen and Goop always mention the non profits of their interviewees (mostly as part of their bios but it’s something). What Gwen and Goop do NOT do is weave wellness with access, privilege, race, and class. They just smugly smile and say try a crystal. And there has to be more to it then shamans and kale. Which takes me back to yesterday/comments above and the schizophrenic nature of Goop and Gwen. Like dating a jerk who is hot….it feels good but it feels wrong. The balance of wellness is to find an ethical blend of personal needs and public concerns. And that lack of balance bothers you because you Emily Henderson come from a core of righteousness. You try to have integrity and honesty. You work hard to educate and advise on design. You believe in a healthy amount of transparency with your audience. And that wiggly feeling in your gut when you walked out of the Goop conference wasn’t the kombucha. Yesterday/in comments above I talked about the earthing post on Goop and earthing interview with Gwen. I highlighted EASY to find facts about shoes and access. Imagine how powerful the Goop post would have been if it highlighted the power of earthing mixed with the gratitude of having shoes. If it suggested donating shoes as part of balancing and centering your earthing experience. Now THAT’S wellness.

    CONCLUSION
    It’s all well and good for you to put on your oxygen mask first but if you don’t immediately turn to help the child beside you the disabled person behind you the woman ahead of you…well then your just a privileged person sucking down fresh oxygen while everyone around you is dying. Find the balance between alternative ideas and affecting others. Work towards thoughtful questions from multiple angles. Search for alternatives that change your expectations by listening to those who are nothing like you. Normalize the rooms you are in. Be aware of the intersections of class and race. And if you spend over $1k and you still feel icky about it…don’t do it again no matter how good the kale ice cream was. Whatever your self care journey know that it needs to feel good AND be right.

    INFO ON CLASS

    https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/social-class-as-culture.html

    Upper class. The upper class is made up of 10 percent of the total population, elite white-collar professionals, business owners and heirs, with earnings listed at $100,000-plus for single persons and $250,000 annually for double-income families. References for the above classifications included American Class Structure in an Age of Growing Inequality by Dennis Gilbert and the book Society in Focus by William Thompson and Joseph Hickey

    The Top 1% 
    According to a 2015 report from the Economic Policy Institute, in the United States, the top 1% of wage earners take home 21% of U.S. income. According to the same report, the average income of the 1% in 2015 was $1,316,985. To even qualify as a member of the 1%, one had to make $421,926. (That is more than double Pew’s 2016 median upper-income class income of $187,872.)

    1. Not that this takes away from your other points, but I’m pretty sure Jessica Alba self-identifies as a p.o.c. As an Asian person, I do want to point out that lighter skinned minorities are often “lumped in” with white people, even though that is not our experience of the world.

      1. Fair point. Assuming everyone in the room is white because they are light isn’t balanced. I’ll rephrase to say highlighting and having enough VISIBLE minority’s (including the disabled, Muslims and LGBTQ) is critical to normalizing a space and the conversation. Thanks for pointing that out.

    2. YES. Thank you for all this labor and education here! 👏🏽

      I also want to add that I’ve enjoyed seeing Emily’s team grow to more accurately reflect the world. I do appreciate that she is one of the few bloggers I see that employ diverse peoples.

    3. THANK YOU.

    4. Danielle,

      Thank you for the work that you put in to both this comment and your previous one. I really appreciate the clear and well-researched points you are bringing to this conversation!

    5. Thank you for this 💕

    6. Holy sh*t, this was such a gift to read. I’m glad I came back, again to peruse the comments. Thank you for the thought provoking points you brought up and sheer labor you put into this incredibly educational response. Your conclusion alone could be the metric by which we all (read: my fellow privileged white ladies) measure our choices and actions…

    7. Incredible. Both posts. Brava.

  54. FWIW, TED often gets some of the same criticism on the event front (it now costs $10,000 USD+) to attend, but can demonstrate how those high fees that allow more privileged folks to attend in person subsidize TED Talks that are available free to everyone around the world and provide some of the monies used to support altruistic TED Prize and TED Fellows initiatives. Goop and Gwyneth seem to lack this more outwardly-focused commitment to benefiting other. That’s their choice, but it opens them up to fair criticism.

  55. At best Goop is appropriating health traditions from other cultures; any ‘good’ they do for wealthy white women should rightfully be overshadowed by the cost it has taken on the communities it’s ‘learned’ from (cost of coconut oil, turmeric, etc. has increased). And at worst are actively and concisely participating in the racist and classist rhetoric (the goop brand clothes are like ~500$ for a skirt, they know who their audience is).

  56. You’re an interior designer. A fabulous one! I would stick to that. It’s your business and why we follow you. Stay in your lane and none of these other problems, ie, from the Goop post would even exist.

    1. This is a very icky comment to make – especially to a woman. Her lane is whatever she chooses it to be and you absolutely don’t speak for anyone but yourself. In fact I am sure her website traffic analytics show the spike in readership and engagement from what you are calling a “problem” post that she can use to charge higher fees from her sponsors. So not only are you offensive you are also wrong.

    2. Yeah, no. I think Emily’s “lane” is — to extend this metaphor — wherever she wants to drive.

    3. Ines. It feels to me like you are someone who finds conflict or the appearance of it unpleasant. It sounds like you assume Emily regrets causing discussion because in your mind it causes “problems”. In that spirit I am sure you advice is sensible. However inno way do I get the impression that Emily sees any of this a problem. I think she values engagement, open discourse and in fact seeks variety of ideas and pints of view. To you praise that Emily is a good designer, I would add that she is a good blogger and interesting person. She does not need to change one hair for me, nor does she need to limit or modify her public persona unless she wants to. Her well rounded ness is why I follow her. And judging from the engagement here, we outnumber those who just want to stay in a lane….

    4. “Stay in your lane”…could you be any more derogatory. You don’t speak for we – *we* speak for ourselves.

  57. The statement “we don’t know what’s absolutely true” with regards to what works and what doesn’t. Some may not feel they know but the scientific community and a well read clinician does. There is a plethora of research and well designed trials (to control for placebo effect). There is up to a 50% placebo effect with many interventions. 50%! And many of the the wellness buzz words (ie, detox) that are used have results that are well understood and documented by research (elimination diets, benefits of fasting) but our advice is also tempered with knowledge of human behavior and tendencies as well as population effects (what percentage of x type of people benefit, who should not attempt certain interventions). All this to say, many may not be certain but I am as a clinician and it is on that basis (my education, certification, clinical expertise) that I advise patients.

  58. “This might have been around the same time as vagina steaming. I think we all know that didn’t help her image.” Haha!

    As a nurse, if someone wants to get a jade egg that probably isn’t real jade and it makes them feel well doing it, I’m 100% enthusiastic for them. If Goop didn’t draw any labs before your B12 shot to make sure you really need it, B12 is water soluble and you will pee the extra right out.

    Most people use complimentary therapies with their western medicine, whether they are intentional and knowing or not. Insurance companies are increasingly likely to cover CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) and hospitals are increasingly offering CAM despite limited evidence based research because it is cheaper for them.

    I started reading this blog when I was poor and in the hood and it helped me style my gross little rental in a way that worked for me. We don’t have to be rich to read Gwenyth because we all take away something different from the influencers we follow, whether we are wealthy or not.

  59. I’m not going to read all the comments, but were they really mostly getting mad at you for your extremely legitimate, refreshing, and correct sentiments about wealthy people with ample free time giving back to communities and the less-affluent?

    Emily, I’m kind of a new reader of your blog. I was also raised Mormon, no longer Mormon though. If there’s one thing I think is valuable about that religious upbringing it is exactly what you wrote: A focus on helping people, building communities, giving back, not being selfish.

    Good for you for standing up for real values that are, or should be, universal. It’s not good to be selfish. Part of wellness, perhaps the most central part, is thinking of and serving others. When that is missing from a conference about wellness, there’s something really wrong.

    At a time when wealth inequality is basically at late Roman Empire levels, what does “taking care of ourselves first so we can take care of others” mean? When male legislators are attacking women’s body autonomy, is wellness still about having a glowing complexion? When people of color are being denied access to voting, is there any place where calling that out is inappropriate?

  60. I missed the original blog post but am glad you reposted it with additional thoughts. I studied journalism in college and every class came back to the premise of the “marketplace of ideas”. I graduated in 2001, which was before blogs and social media became a significant source of news/content, but I think the premise is still applicable and relevant. One of the great things about living in the US is the ability to freely say and write what we think, even when it can be deemed offensive to others. As citizens, we are able to listen to others that we agree with and others that we are vehemently opposed to. We then choose from the “marketplace of ideas” what information we will then rely on to make decisions about how we live and act. I appreciate Emily’s openness to the ideas of others, and her ability to both critique and embrace ideas and information according to her internal sense of self. Thank you for creating this dialogue – this is what it’s all about – keep it up.

  61. I have nothing more to add to the discussion but I wanted to say what a pleasure it was to read your self reflection on an important topic. I think you’re just like the rest of the world: trying to navigate how you feel outside of media pulls and celebrity wishes. I hope we’re all constantly reevaluating what we see and how we use it as the tool to move forward as a stronger society.

  62. Here’s what I don’t get: Sure Goop is “incredibly elitist and only caters to a small portion of the population” as someone here put it. So what? The same is true of Chanel. And Rolex. And Range Rover. And any number of other super high end companies that cater to a tiny economically privileged set of people. But none of those companies come in for near the amount of sheer hate that GP and Goop do. You might say, well that’s because of Goop’s questionable health advice. Well over the years, Oprah has recommended all sorts of super-expensive products, doled out questionable health advice, and offered loads of self-indulgent self-help BS and doesn’t get anywhere near the abuse that GP and Goop do. The only difference is that GP is white, rich, and thin — and thus, apparently deserves to be stoned.

    Wouldn’t it be wonderful if people took all their over-the-top anger at GP and Goop — a MINOR irritation in the scheme of things — and aimed it instead at people who are really damaging our country: like, say, electing responsible leaders in 2020 or reducing the pharmaceutical industry’s lock on health care?

    1. As I mentioned above my issues with Goop are less on pseudoscience and more on class/wealth/cultural appropriation/privilege/access. Luxury aspects notwithstanding… The reason Goop gets more pressure then say Gucci is because Gucci doesn’t purport itself to be a thoughtful / questioning brand focused on wellness. Given Goops ethos it becomes odd that they only present as thoughtful and questioning UP TO A POINT. And that point typically doesn’t include social awareness or inclusion which does fit with the idea of balance and wellness. I like Gucci as much as the next girl and I’ve certainly taken advantage of some aspects of Goop, but I expect more of a brand who asks more of its customers then money. Goop asks for us to become aware of alternatives and pay for those alternatives….without providing any balance to elitism it provides. As for voting and caring about politics versus commenting on a powerful global brand…those aren’t mutually exclusive.

      1. Danielle: The problem I have with your argument is that basically you are saying that companies that make an effort to be a thoughtful brand should be vilified for falling short while we ignore the many, many, many companies that make zero effort on this front.

        How does it make sense to demand more of a brand that makes an effort while demanding nothing of brands that don’t?

        My point is not that you shouldn’t criticize GP and Goop. My point is that the criticism — and the outright hate — is entirely out of proportion.

    2. I agree wth this. I love Oprah, and can also recognise where she has recommended something she later changed her mind about. I’m nThere is something so visceral about the hate that GP gets which bothers me. Yes, completely agree vagina steaming is a bad idea, but who has time for that anyway? We’re all still buying Johnson and Johnson and they have done a lot more harm.

    3. Amen. No brand can speak to all people at the same time. Its a brand. You decide which one you will support by either buying their products or not. Emily, thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience!

  63. “This might have been around the same time as vagina steaming. I think we all know that didn’t help her image.” Haha!

    As a nurse, if someone wants to use a jade egg that probably isn’t jade at all and it makes them feel well, I am 100% enthusiastic for them. If Goop didn’t check any labs before they gave you the B12 injection, B12 is water soluble and you will just pee out the excess.

    Most people use an alternative therapy whether intentional and knowing or not. We are increasingly dissatisfied with Western medicine and have started supplementing on our own. Insurance companies are more likely to cover CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) and hospitals are increasingly offering CAM despite limited evidenced-based practice because it is cheaper for them to do so. Goop is able to capitalize on this shift.

  64. You are one of my role models for thoughtful, considered discussions. I appreciate your clarifications and I’m glad you added them, but don’t beat yourself up – your original post still felt very measured and introspective.

    (That said, a lot of what you said resonated with me because I am also a super white, privileged woman (living in Asia so I am a very visible minority and feel like I have to actively prove myself not to be a stereotype daily while also trying to just accept that yeah, I’m basically as white as it gets) and I struggle with a lot of the things you mentioned so I could be completely biased.)

    I love that you are so open about your life, your thoughts and your struggles. I don’t really mind whether or not I agree with what you are saying, because the way you present it shows how much thought and analysis you have put into it, and I really respect that. I also really respect the way you respond to negative feedback. It shows true character and heart and not to get mushy but makes me want to be a better person. Please keep it up!

    1. I agree with Hannah! Also with others, especially Danielle.

      Thoughtful conversation helps to keep an open mind and see other points of view, and I value what most people have written because it expresses a point of view and kudos to you for allowing it on your platform and expressing yours. We all can become a bit wiser from reading and listening. However, there have been some POVs that seem to express a lack of willingness to understand and have a less tolerant tone which is a shame, I hope that reading posts like this and the comments generated will help trigger more open, tolerant and understanding in the future.

      Thank you Emily for creating this community and bringing up topics that inspire discussion.

  65. Reading your revised post, I assumed comments were persuading you to be less critical of Goop. Reading the comments, I found a lot of support and even deeper critique of the structural and unconscious bias this brand reflects, relies on, and promotes. You are right to ask the hard questions, not only about Goop if you attend a $1000 one-day conference and write a post to get a write off (thereby using your influencer role to grow their reach/impressions/clicks) but also about yourself and your own brand. (I’d love to learn more about what brand practices you see them do well, what you learned as a businesswoman, how you see your own brand comfortably or uncomfortably intersecting with Goop demographics and their mission and value system.) One thing you do so well is peel back the layers of professional design to make it accessible to “regular” people. I see your post being about your own journey and baby steps towards evolving your business, also built around a person (you) and a core design business, into a less discrete role as “an influencer” and a lifestyle brand. Why does my work matter? How am I using my influence in ways that feel ethical, authentic, and politically/environmentally/etc. conscious? How do I want to use my power? How do I want to engage/disrupt the capitalist engine I use and rely on and have concerns about? These are the questions I see emerging on your blog and in this post . Ultimately I return to your blog because I appreciate this angle. The makeovers for families transitioning out of homelessness are my favorite. I also love eye candy! And design rules. But I’m impressed with your thoughtfulness. I don’t see how your second post improves on your first. Keep asking the hard questions. Maybe ask them more directly.

    1. Yes

  66. Here’s my issue with Goop. If you are healthy and wealthy, then crystals and supplements and detoxifiers and restrictive diets that make you “better” seem fun. Why not?! You already feel good, why not feel GREAT?!

    But if you have a chronic illness, if you wake up every day and struggle just to feel normal, then the message Goop sends is: If you would just try harder, if you would just spend more of your precious money, if you would just spend more precious time reading about alternative cures, then you would feel better. It indirectly places the blame for the illness on THE SICK PERSON.

    This problem is wasn’t created by Goop and Goop isn’t the main source of this problem. Emily, I love your blog and will always support your right to express your views on ANY topic. Thanks for being great!!!

    1. Yes, this. So much of the trendy wellness stuff seems to be about pushing the idea that if you eat the right things or meditate or buy expensive supplements or *just wish hard enough*, bad things won’t happen to you. I’m sure they don’t set out to blame people who have a chronic illness but the implication is certainly there.

  67. Hi,
    Thanks for an interesting perspective on Goop and the wellness summit. One point to clarify is that functional doctors are not physicians. As a physician married to another physician we are held to a much higher ethical and legal standard then naturopaths etc. It’s great that the site uses people with an understanding of medicine but I don’t want your readers to think that they employ MDs because they don’t. Just a clarification

  68. You “flesh” things out, not “flush” them out.

  69. You don’t have to explain yourself to anyone yet you are. Your good heart shows through all you do.

  70. Emily, I really wonder what is going on inside of you that you felt the need to post this.

    It seems beyond just clickbait and trying to increase the number of comments you receive.

    Why do you choose to try to justify yourself over and over for your privilege/wealth/waste? Do you think that somehow your readers are going to be all “NOW I GET IT, it is totally valid and praiseworthy to spend $2000 on a bathroom faucet! You are so courageous! So authentic and quirky! So hilarious!”

    You know that your brand is faaaaaar closer to Goop than just about any other company in the world. You seem like you are simultaneously trying to justify why you want it to be exactly that way, and also why you think you are somehow better than her.

    1. Um, no.

  71. Hi Emily,

    Sometimes I think we over analyze motivations. You have power and money, you like being around other people with power and money.

    It’s indulgent to give yourself credit for feeling uncomfortable. If you were uncomfortable, why participate?

    I love your blog and am impressed with your success. People are motivated by your story, share how you built your business, how you solve complex problems, etc. Forget the existential stuff.

    Thanks for listening,
    Emily

  72. Emily, you can afford to buy a ticket without subjecting us to your ‘tax write off’ blogging. We love you and forgive you.
    You are entitled to a personal life. Realize that your readers don’t need nor want to know your every thought.

  73. i am curious, would you have said all of this if your ticket had been a ‘free influencer ticket’ or would you have been obligated to just post a pretty picture and say nice things?

  74. Hi Emily – Your original post seemed thorough and honest to me but I haven’t read the comments. I regularly listen to the Goop podcast — love the topics and interesting guests but I find myself rolling my eyes on occasion and feeling embarrassed to admit I’m a listener (Goop shame). I think you hit the nail on the head about the SELF help stuff. A big part of overall wellness is contribution not just focusing on YOUR gut flora. I got the same vibe when I listened to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic podcast (although I LOVE her). These are just such privileged starting points for conversation, and the awareness isn’t always there. It would be great if Goop authentically evolved to include more topics about contribution. When we are confronting death, I imagine we aren’t going to be thanking god we got our hormones balanced (although sure, that does add to quality of life). We’re going to be thinking of those who touched our lives and those we had the privilege of helping and loving. So for now I’ll just continue taking the helpful pieces and looking to other podcasts (like Oprah’s) to add the soul.

    1. This. All of this. 👍🏾

    2. Very well said Meg. Thank you. I also agree with Emily’s sentiment that “health and wellness” would be more effective if it included activities that serve people who may appear to be different and/or less privileged than us. I found this useful website and pamphlet from the UK that talks about the mental health benefits of doing good: https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/doing-good-does-you-good

      Goop would do well to take notes.

  75. There’s a lot to unpack here and I’d like to say something to you — people project onto others what they lack in themselves. This is one of the reasons why a) Gwyneth and Goop gets judged, and b) why you got attacked yesterday. What other people think about you is none of your business (mean that in the best way possible). 🙂

    Personally, I read Goop and I listen to their podcast. I do not buy their products because I cannot afford them. I also can’t afford La Mer or Vintner’s Daughter or a Chanel bag — I’m not their target demographic and that’s OK. My point is there are beautiful, functional products (and summits and conferences) in all price points for all people!

    Their website content — not marketing content — is really thought-provoking because most people don’t like change. Period. Most people don’t do well with new things, let alone new ideas and experiences. Most people like their comfort zone and that’s OK. But these are the same people that enjoy judgement and that’s not a good quality to possess. At the end of the day, who are we to judge? What I love about them is yes they propose holistic measures, but they’re also realistic about what can be done holistically vs. with doctors. Heck, they’re always interviewing doctors! Their podcast is also fantastic!

    I admire that you communicated that you are on a spiritual journey. That’s what Goop is also about. How do you take care of your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health? That’s what it’s about. If you don’t take care of you, if you are not happy, how are you going to take care of others? It’s OK to spend $1,000 to have a day that makes you feel empowered and helps you learn something about yourself you didn’t know before. In your case, it made you think about how you are showing up in this world and doing more to help. If anything, that’s a thought that’s was worth the $1,000 if it means that now you get to do something about it.

    Xo

  76. Apologies as I won’t have time to read all the comments, but I did want to share one thought I’ve had reading your blog that may align with the self-reflection you mentioned. A huge part of your business is consumption and waste: when we remodel we generate waste, the culture of seasonal and trend furniture, and your recurring posts about new clothing you’re wearing. If you’re open to it, I’d love to see more posts about how to repurpose furniture or styling one sustainable piece of clothing that will last for a decade. It’s easy to think donating is giving an item more life however a huge amount of what we donate to charity organizations ends up in landfills while absolving us the guilt of our consumption. I’d also love to read about companies that align with your business that have closed loop systems (if these exist). I know some clothing retailers who guarantee to buy back your clothes and repair and restore them for resale, for example. I applaud you for the charitable things you’ve done and look forward to seeing where you’re self reflection takes EHD.

  77. Hi! I think that the discomfort you felt at the conference encapsulates how I feel about Gwyneth — as a public figure, business owner and face of a brand (NOT as a woman/mom). She does not seem to reach outside of herself/her comfort zone for…anything. I have read several anecdotes about her being out of touch/unaware, and I think that this is reflected in her brand. In 2019 in California, you just should NOT be having a conference that centers on white wealthy women. It’s irresponsible, at best. And I agree that a 5% of the proceeds thing would have been tokenism. Goop needs to take a long hard look at who they’re centering in the brand and at whose expense that comes. As you VERY correctly stated, you were in a room of women who are in a position to HELP others, and YES, you can do that while still taking time for wellness and self care. I think that you’re spot on in your assessment Emily— I think you are maybe just cutting Gwyneth and the Goop execs a little more slack than they deserve.

  78. I hadn’t seen your original post until you re-posted it today. I think the original is perfect and explains how I would feel had I been there. I hate their pseudo-science (pseudo science about anything weakens real science about everything)… and I feel guilty when I buy a jade face roller (with money I should be donating to The Bail Project, because no one truly NEEDS a jade roller)…

    I appreciated your original post because I related to it and it validated my own complex relationship with my privilege, guilt, self indulgence and science. Thank you!

  79. Emily, you nailed it. I am a regular girl. My kids are city kids. I mentor young 20/30 something women. I lead post abortion support groups. My husband and I show hospitality to many people in our city apartment because we are people gatherers. When I invited young women to my home recently to have an open conversation about sex in marriage and how it changes over the years, part of the evening was about serving others and my friend who has a homeless ministry came and filled us in on truth. How can we love those in our “privileged” lives without learning humility and other centeredness!!!! I am a certified aromatherapist. I eat paleo. I do yoga. I pray. I love pretty clothes clean makeup and skincare, but none of this has value without learning how to really love others. That’s called grace.

    Thanks for speaking your thoughts and for letting me speak mine. ❤️

    Carolina Funk
    carolinas_table

    1. Beautiful

  80. Hi Emily —

    As a Black reader of your blog, I find that I’ve often struggled to find myself anywhere on this page. The lifestyle is getting further and further away from anything that could represent my life. I guess I’m wondering who you think or want your audience to be? I’ve gone from a daily reader to an occasional one because I can’t afford a $300 shirt and don’t shop per season. I don’t have a second home to renovate. I’ve never had a nanny and my group of friends and co-workers appear to be more diverse than your staff or friends (or what you let us see). This is not me putting you down – I apologize if it comes off that way. But me giving you a view of what it looks like for a middle-class, divorced mother of two who wants to inject a little design saavy in her life every now and then.

    It seems like you are struggle with what to do with your privilege. I’m surprised it seems so hard when you live in LA of all places. Why am I just now seeing one black member of your staff for the first time in YEARS? If the pool of applicants is small (which is debatable) what opportunities are you creating to cultivate those skills in communities of color? When you take a job, to you consider the ethinic/cultural make up of the staff? I don’t mean the construction crew or the landscapers – why is the industry so white and what are you doing on a regular basis to challenge that? Do you have black and brown friends? Besides Justina Blakeney? When you post about social gatherings at your home, we don’t see them. All of this tends to be alienating. If you are aware and comfortable with this, more power to you. I wish you the best and will continue to check in every now and then.

    1. 🙌🏾

      I’m a black reader as well. I’ve followed Emily for almost ten years. I’ve bought many of the products she recommends. I fall squarely in the demographic Venmo diagram of Goop and Emily…my race none-withstanding. I’m not sure our comments applies to the Goop / Gwen post but when I saw you I had to respond to you. In the past I’ve emailed Emily and other major home decor influencers to ask why there is no focus on minority designers , brands , mentoring? It is striking and it becomes more striking as things are changing and being amplified in the American culture at large. Both the wellness and design industry are dominated by white women. And once you see that it can’t be unseen. I’m not sure what to do about it. I don’t even see it being discussed in the home decor/influencer community much less the wellness community. I mentioned Justina Blakey in my comments above as well. It’s sad she is the only mainstream black female design influencer we both know of. In the wellness community I typically follow Oprah even though some of her medical advice is mushy on details but at least it’s inclusive of multiple races / LGBTQ. Like I said above…I’m not angry and I hope I’m not negative but I am tired. Very tired. Despite my questions and suggestions I’ve never seen a change on the decor sites I’ve reached out too. God bless the fact that Emily has a black assistant at last. It really gave me hope. In the end I’d say normalization and awareness is all I look for in these brands, and I just try not to be disappointed when I don’t find it. Because who am I to judge. Everyone is working hard and developing content from a place of passion so I try to support that and ignore the rest. When I have small opportunities (such as this post) to reach out in a relevant way I do…I try to look for those moments and just enjoy the rest of it. But yes…I hear you. See you on the flip side.

      1. Don’t forget Sheila Bridges….who I LOVE.

      2. What is stopping someone of color to become a design influencer? Go for it!!!

        It’s a slap in the face of people of color to assume that they can’t become design influencers without someone’s help. Put the website out there and go for it! Emily’s “The Brass Petal” original website wasn’t a hit overnight!

    2. I’ll never forget when Emily posted about some sort of beauty box and someone asked if they had products for women of color. She blithely responded “I’m sure they do!” There was not even a suggestion that she would look into it or that if she found out otherwise it might affect her endorsement. It was obvious that not only had she never considered some of the challenges people unlike her face (beauty brands routinely exclude WOC – see just for example Tarte’s 2018 15-color foundation range of which only 3 were for non-white women; YSL’s 2017 22-color foundation range of which 2 were for non-white women; the wild success of Fenty when it actually addressed this ridiculous market gap), but also that she wouldn’t even when it was brought to her attention. That’s when I stopped being a regular reader and moved to occasionally checking in for design stuff – which, as always, remains great.

      1. @Melw
        There are so many ways to weave in black and other minority representation….even from a wellness perspective since Emily is on a self help journey.

        I’d love to see an art round up that depicts minority women or artists of color. It’s weird to me that every portrait (even the flea market ones) are white people. I’d love to see a project with a minority during black history month. That post on Chinossire could have acknowledged the source and history of Asian – British imperialism design.

        And yes I remember the beauty box brush off. I didn’t comment because I just didn’t see a way to educate and support in a broad sense. It wasn’t a complete article/ post it was just a throw away comment so I tried to shift back to what is Emily’s passion what she does dig deep which is design. I just said oh it isn’t her responsibility to find out or say something because it isn’t her passion to do that. I try to focus on the passion each of these influencers (yes even Gwen) bring to their chosen space. I just leave the rest alone because as far as I can tell it won’t change. So what Emily, Jenny, Amber, Chris, and Julia (other OG big time home decor bloggers) are good at is their passion. Representation and/or normalization…not so much. And again it’s like well they work VERY hard at putting out amazing design and education FOR FREE who am I to complain if they can’t see the limits of their industry and act on it. I’m not sure I can draw that line in the sand for them. But it does make me tired. And I wish it was different.

        As for the beauty industry…I just sigh. It is so tiring to see the limits high end brands put on beauty.

        Im glad Barbara posted above about being a black follower. I’ve always thought I was alone because I assume the analytics on most of these blogs gives some sort of idea of the demographics following their blogs… so I never brought up my concerns publicly. I assumed I fit in the demographic of wealth and access but not of race…so I kept quite publicly (I did email Emily and many of those other bloggers privately) And with Goop/Gwen well…I’ve said quite a bit above about that.

        Anyway. I still read Emily and others every day. I still use Goop recipes and that exfoliating mask of theirs and face oil is amazing. But it’s a balance.

        It’s good to know you guys are out there.

        1. What got me was when the whole crew went out and had a spa day and then haircut day—to see so clearly the fact that her team (was?) all white made me deeply uncomfortable. It was around then that I stopped reading everyday although I do love the content most of the time.

        2. I’m also black and a newish reader. I noticed right away that her staff is majority lily white and have commented recently about showcasing minority designers. At this point if it’s been pointed out, I can assume they don’t because they don’t want to. 🤷🏾‍♀️

    3. I’d love to see an Em crossover with Shavonda Gardner. She does such a good job of BOTH design and influencing the community in their privilege. I owe her gazillions for all of the labor she has done educating me as a white woman. Her insta is @sgardnerstyle if EHD isn’t already following her. Please take notes!!

  81. Hi Emily. Thanks for the transparency with this. One major issue I have with GOOP is cultural appropriation. I’ve seen them take items and practices (ex: jade, smudging) that are sacred to other cultures, often cultures we in our racial or national history have exploited and irreparably damaged, and sell them to white women at a massive markup. And that is just never ok.

    1. This is really important. Thank you, Lindsay. We can talk around the complexity of privilege all day, but cultural appropriation is never okay.

  82. The only thing that will help save us is God! He gave us everything that we have all our money and privilege, all of our opportunities in life! No self help book, amount of money , seminar and especially not a crystal will help you or give you energy or protection! God is the answer to it all ! It’s not about religion or science… it’s about having a relationship with God! Who made us , who loves us , who gives us every breath we take! It’s not just what I believe , it’s a fact!

  83. This post comes off as if Emily was looking for a way to rationalize having anything to do with Goop whilst knowing it’s not a good look at all. It’s so contradictory. Just the first 2 paragraphs of the original post made me grimace hard and consider not reading on. No wonder people were so up in arms.

    Telling people they don’t know how Gwyneth really is and that we talk trash about her or her site, it’s because we are jealous? Really?? Yikes. As a Black woman I do think that white folks are the ones that need to call out other white folks on their privileged behavior/racism/elitism/classism but this is far from that. It comes off as more of a defense of Gwyneth/Goop/Emily than anything else.

    “Kardashian but with blonde hair” (as another commenter said) is exactly what Goop is, except Goop came first and targets the wealthy. Otherwise, they peddle the same sort of “This lifestyle is attainable if you buy this stuff” mentality. I think the Kardashian’s even got the idea of peddling their appropriated ideas from Goop.

    Emily asks what they value. Just like the Kardashians, what Gwyneth and Goop value is the almighty $$. Every idea has been appropriated from another culture for monetary gain, and is used to sell other, more expensive, stuff. I mean, $1000 for a ticket whose proceeds just go to Goop?? Must be nice!! I’m at least happy to hear that the event has evolved from the first review I read about it years ago.

    Do I believe in alternative medicine? Sure… some of it. I have seen the power of some herbal treatments for myself. Here’s the thing, though… I would never use Goop as my resource for these ideas. They’ve peddled too many harmful “treatments” that they themselves have admitted were harmful or poorly researched, if they researched them at all.

    To the people that know nothing of Goop that are thinking of checking them out: do your research. There’s many doctors of all sorts speaking out against Goop/Gwyneth. Make sure to do your due diligence.

    It’s your blog and you can write what you like. I do hope you put more thought and care into writing about this sort of thing in the future, though.

    1. ❤️ Thank you for your honesty. I think this type of dialogue is exactly what we need. We’re alI just trying to be the best people we can be. I try to always remember that most of us are privileged in the eyes of someone in this big world of ours.

  84. Man. I remember when I lived in CA in my twenties being like this. So desperate for self help. Drinking all the wheatgrass and thinking yoga would solve all my problems. Here’s thing, and I’m not trying to be mean only honest. Anyone who is super into self help likely has not faced any serious adversity in their life. I mean real adversity. Once you’ve been through a REAL struggle like battling cancer for years or having a child who almost dies or having a sick spouse you will continue to waste time with self help. Once you go through adversity and come out the other side you have no need for self help. You become unselfish because you see gratitude in the smallest things everyday. All of a sudden you get it, life is supposed to have suffering but there is always beauty. You can live in the moment and be content. It’s not about happiness it’s a feeling of being content in the moment with exactly what you have. If you are still desperately searching then you either have to kush if a life or you are still deeply in the shit, still worrying how you will feed your kids or if you’re loved one will die tomorrow. But if you find a way to get through whatever huge difficulty you are going through, none of this crap is even necessary. You don’t need this. Life is pretty simple really it all comes down to gratitude, love and giving. That’s really it if you think about it. Or if you’ve survived something than you know what I’m talking about.

    1. Yes. I have survived. I understand how actions for others can be life altering because I’ve been on the receiving end of kindness after losing a child. You don’t have to be 100% balanced, organic, or even have had a full night of sleep in order to make a big difference for others.
      Since losing our son, our attitude about self care or even exercise has completely changed. We have really reprioritized our time to make the best out of every day. And that’s a gift in itself.

    2. I agree that is really hard to keep any sense of perspective in CA…and also agree on the real life tragedies that really change this. I feel like one doesn’t have to wait to experience this, but just join up on a mission trip and serve-it’s lifechanging. You just can’t think the same anymore.

  85. I never know where my comments go but here’s my 2 cents from reading some of the others. I’m ambivalent about goop but I think most of the products are severely overpriced whether you are into them or not. Look on amazon or another supplier and you can find quality alternatives. Second, if you want to spend that much money on those products or an event, I hope you are personally donating that much to meaningful causes and organizations (and not just through your business). Finally, I’m generally fine when this blog veers into lifestyle and fashion because as we say at some of our work trainings ‘take what serves you and leave the rest’ meaning I usually find a tidbit of something interesting through souping or other things. Generally though, I prefer the design stuff.

  86. I read the entirety of yesterday’s post and today’s, including the comments, which is not something I always do. (I’m a visual learner. If you’re talking about design, I don’t need to read every word.)

    I’ll just comment on your addendum. Re “B” I wouldn’t say it’s “good for no one,” because it got many people talking and thinking, including you.

    Re #1, I know exactly where you’re coming from. My childhood was very similar, though I haven’t become rich (lol). But a certain tone of voice, a way of talking, and certain topics of conversation rub me the wrong way. These days I might term it as “triggering” me, though it’s not as severe as that. If I went to the GOOP summit, which I would not, even if I could afford it, I’d probably shiver with disgust after about 5 minutes and leave. Judgy much? Yes. Yes, I am.

    Re #2, thanks for that. You expressed your points very well.

    Re #3, I’m thinking about what I call the “Schindler Example,” though what this has to do with GOOP I don’t know. Maybe nothing. But if you watch Schindler’s List, you see that in the beginning Schindler was simply a womanizer and profiteer. He rubbed noses with Nazis. He wasn’t a good person. But in the course of running his company, he *changed* (or *was changed*). My point is that if a “bad” company does something “good,” it doesn’t negate those good actions. If a “bad” person does something heroic, is he a hero? Maybe. Are you defined by what you are inside, or by what you *do*? Or is what you are inside *transformed* by what you do? That’s why this argument of “I’m going to fix myself before I try to help anyone else” to me rings hollow.

    It’s easier to talk about this on an individual level than to talk about a company or corporation, because each of these is comprised of so many people.

  87. Since I don’t think I’ll ever be in a position where I am able to attend an event like this, I found it interesting to read about your experience and notice the emotions that arose.
    I enjoy reading your blog, not only for the design aspect but also these asides.

  88. Just a comment about language – I think in point #1 what you are trying to say is that the conference made you see the elitism of Goop clearly. You’re using the word ‘white’ and ‘whitest’ and while, yes, most of the attendees were white women, white doesn’t equal wealthy. White privilege is about racial privilege. What you were confronted with was a combination of white privilege and elitism.

    1. Exactly! Thank you for that. Also, language is important and women of color in particular are all too tuned into nuances used when speaking about us. For instance, when mentioning the two women of color Jessica Alba and Taraji Henson followed by an accolade that they were “articulate.” Thank you, Emily. No! Part of the privilege is imagining these women as magical unicorns of color when in fact they are EVERYWHERE. I wish Emily well, but I was done with this blog when she reflected on her time as a gentrifier in Harlem as if she were superwoman battling evil. Until she hires POC and makes a few black friends to feature in these posts, I am done!!

      1. “I wish Emily well, but I was done with this blog when she reflected on her time as a gentrifier in Harlem as if she were superwoman battling evil.”

        Yiiiiikes. I definitely need to reconsider reading this blog after I’ve found and read that particular post.

  89. Yeah yeah, but what did you think about their line for CB2? ;-P

    GOOP is a company and companies ONLY exist to make money. Even if they have a good “values” or give some token amount to charity or whatever. GOOP’s target audience is rich ladies who fancy themselves to be “earthy”, so the company caters to that demo heavily. All the empowerment stuff is just window dressing to inspire sales of expensive smoothie supplements and $900 boat neck t-shirts.

    I think everyone is taking this way too seriously.

  90. I always feel like yours are the only posts on controversial topics from a point of view very different from my own that are worth reading because you are honest and at least seem to be truly trying to be objective. Thanks for a peek inside the enigmatic Goop world!

  91. This is why I don’t come around your blog much anymore. How do you know your readers are “privledged white women?” I’ve taken a couple of your surveys and race was never asked. I am a homeowner who competed a full renovation in NYC metro area, a mother, a business owner, and a black woman. Always nice to be ignored or told we are not a part of the equation. Instead of being more inclusive, posts like these make me want to run for the hill. Bye!!

    1. Melissa: It looks like you are looking to be offended. Where does it say the readers here are “privileged white women.” She’s talking about the Goop conference audience! Emily wasn’t referring to us (blog readers)!

  92. Dear Emily,
    I wanted to weigh in here, not that I have much to say on the topic, but the mean spirited comments really bug me. People get jealous when they see someone like you — SO talented, successful and most importantly such a genuine kind heart. I’ve been your fan since design star and I wanted to say keep doing what you’re doing. All of it. You’re my fave!
    PS. Respectful opinions and discussions are so good 👌 ✌️

  93. I am in awe of you and your insightful way of navigating this beautiful, yet complex and messy world. Thank you for always being so honest and full of integrity. You have such a nice way of reminding us all that we live in a world of color, not simply black and white. ❤️

  94. Appreciate your thoughtfulness and consideration at the event and in writing and rewriting your post. Respect for asking questions and considering how the event and the post could be better and for what you present under your “brand.”

  95. Why does everything have to get so heated and political. I miss the good ol days of inspiring design. I think Emily is so talented and while I’m a bit confused on some of the rational behind some recent content I still love the talent. And hey the blog is free and I don’t have to click on anything I don’t want to. And while I’m here… more Craigslist and flea market finds posts please!

    1. Agree!!!

  96. Thank you for publishing this in its original form AND for your added comments. I honestly, somewhat ashamedly like you, can relate to Goop. I mean, I was reading their “The Summer Detox Guide” post and had that tab still open on my computer when I clicked over to read this! I enjoy their content, but like you, I also get somewhat uncomfortable. Like who needs to spend $80 on a quartz infused water bottle?? I could (I didn’t), but the fact that I could, made me feel bad. Like $80 is a big deal to someone with less income: that could buy so much food, so many clothes, go towards a big chunk of rent, etc. I didn’t grow up wealthy either and I keep trying to stay away from “being wealthy” despite our income now being above middle class and we live comfortably in the SF Bay (one of THE most expensive places to live). I try to teach my kids to be kind and that we don’t need “so much” and so I say no a LOT to them for things they want. But isn’t that the point: we make more money to give our kids a better life? I know that’s always what my parents aspired to do and now that I have it, I want it to be the other way. Ugh, I think there are so many comments because this topic and Goop in general, brings up lots of peoples fears and emotional aspects of their childhood? I know for me it sure did.

    Whew, my comment alone is a lot to unpack! Lol Again, thank you for talking about things that others aren’t always willing to. I’m glad you were honest about how you felt about Goop and after going to the conference – most bloggers/influencers would have just talked about how great it was…

  97. Emily, your gift is openness and to search and share the results of what you’ve found. (I am pretty surprised at the reaction!) So many of your posts leave me wanting to have a long convo and say, “I know the answer to that and if I don’t, I know where to find it!” You have openly confided in your audience that you are still in ongoing search of several areas of your values.
    Specifically to this post, though:
    I belong to a company of partners that look at entrepreneurship and wealth as holy. If you are an employer, providing livelihood for multiple people, if you are providing solid work and promotion off your vendors, if you are delivering excellence and beauty to your clients and their families, then your company’s impact is ALREADY spiritual and communal, as well as material. Wealth is so much more than money. If you are cheating your employees, living extravagantly while they don’t have a living wage, creating a culture that impedes them living a family life, etc. (none of which you are doing) then your business is not actually wealthy in the true sense. It is just money-driven.
    It is really hard to see this view in a place where the cost of living is legitimately prohibitive to people (we operate in California too). This is not your fault though.
    Business owners have such a high calling and responsibility to care for those in their employ and everyone they reach. I find the responsibility daunting and I also find that it is very hard for a non-entrepreneur to grasp the shocking reality of the entrepreneur. It is NOT all profits and luxury lifestyle. There are things you attend or wear or do for business that looks like you are floating along in life, but you are really working.
    Goop has merely unveiled a reality that many people are ashamed to acknowledge. The elite lifestyle exists and it should get under our skin. Is it not right to feel ashamed at extravagance when we are hyper aware of the types of suffering and poverty we also witness every day? This is simply called CONSCIENCE. I think you, Emily, have a beautiful conscience. You were raised to “know better”…that deep down, people are good, they are equal, they are not the sum of their material possessions, status or talents. This means that GP is my sister and so is the child in the slum. This vision of the human person as a person with dignity is what compels us to take the money we’d spend on a $1000 ticket (which is not a fundraiser lol) one year, and put it toward something we believe in the next year.
    Well, that’s not to say we can’t spend money on living a good life. The joys of human life are holy too! We can’t forego healthy girls weekends or family vacations because someone else can’t afford them-that doesn’t do anyone any favors.
    Lastly, Brene Brown everyone!!! Please…SHE is the voice to be hearing.
    Don’t you think it is a talent to hold your high levels of empathy? Many people have been so hurt that they have turned off parts of their heart to the ability to see good in anyone-whether privileged or poor. You have not turned off your heart.
    Personally, I feel like a most of our values sync up…I think deep down the truth you have inside of you is in conflict with what “the world” is saying… (There is 1 view recently that was promoted that cut me to the heart because it is just so objectively wrong…though I also felt like it was someone on your team who snuck it in at the end of the post.) However, knowing how hard you fight to find all that is true, good and beautiful in life, I keep reading because I KNOW and HOPE that you will find it.

    1. What an interesting organization you are a part of Christina, it seems aligned with thoughts I have had on my mind recently. “Yes” to empathy.

  98. Emily, thank you for your very thoughtful post and for being open to these amazing comments. Wanted to add that before you start “manifesting” with Lacy Phillips, you may want to look into her highly problematic comments about racism and sexism:

    https://www.theilluum.com/home-1/2018/9/4/lacy-phillips-free-and-native-white-spiritual-leaders

  99. Wow, people get so fired up about this! This is Emily’s blog and she can write about whatever the hell she likes. If you don’t like it, don’t read it. Go find another interior designer with values that align perfectly to yours. Similarly, if you don’t like Goop, don’t read the site or listen to the podcasts!

    1. Dear Meg, Why would you not want to read and consider the comments this post has generated? Each one is valuable and the original and updated posts have stimulated some very healthy discussions.

  100. I can’t understand how you can debrief with your friends, who are in marketing, for three days, and still think this brand may be unintentionally exclusive. There’s no “maybe” about it.

    And writing off your ticket as a business expense – do you see the unabashed privilege in that? Knowing you intend to write off a 1k ticket to a GOOP summit is just fuel to the flame (the flame that is in this comment section).

    That said! I’ve learned something here. I don’t follow GOOP so I wasn’t even aware the “giving back” angle was glaringly absent. I question if I would have noticed that right away, and how often this applies to the things I like and follow. In the future I’ll see this. Thank you for this perspective, Emily.

    1. Eve, you made such an important point- writing off the $1000 ticket is where the real privilege lies.

  101. Thanks for your thoughtful sharing and analysis. I appreciate the “insider” element. As a white woman I completely relate to your comfort and curiously. I also appreciate your discomfort.

    I developed an approach to healing relationship with food and body after chronic dieting and disordered eating called Body Trust. From my vantage point, I can see that what is being marketed as wellness does nothing for the majority of people and often alienates people, especially those with targeted identities further. The social determinants of health, such as poverty, discrimination, access, genetic, etc should have our focus. And approaches that amplify the resiliency of people’s bodies is what is lacking.

    The glorification of wellness is leading to early eating disorders and a population of people whose focus is distracted by body anxiety and image concerns.

    Bodies or over-pathologized for profit and at the root of much of the wellness industry is fatphobia. Our children need us to reject the glamour, the striving and the project of occupying a body for the project of turning towards targeted and excluded bodies. Then we can heal- especially if the most marginalized are centered.

    So, who cares about Gwyneth or Goop. It’s a non-starter when we shift our focus.

    Thanks for reading.

  102. Goop sounds like 💩.
    Didn’t you delete a post about the whole Obama shirt thing as well? (Referring to when you say you didn’t)
    Just curious about that one??

    I never heard of goop before your post but it sounds like a racket to me.

  103. I am anti -Gwenyth and Goop, but really liked your original post and it made me reconsider what I thought I knew about her. And I love your point about privilege. Your post was well thought out – stop beating yourself up. Read Glennon Melton Doyle’s posts and forgive yourself relentlessly! We’re all just trying to figure it out as we go.

  104. Gwyneth gets hit with a lot of the same sh*t that Martha Stewart does. They are both very earnest and competent about what they do and earn a whole lot of resentment. I haven’t actually been to the Goop website in years (prices were way over my pay grade) but I have read a lot of Martha books and learned a thing or two about gardening and organizing my stuff.
    Go if you want to go. I won’t judge. You do stuff for charity frequently. Balance. It’s all about balance … that and steaming your vagina.

  105. Thank you!!!! I love all of what you have said and I think the debate is a great one. I am not a goop hater or supporter I am pretty goop neutral. I followed briefly but realized I’m not in line with a lot of that and some of that is becasue I am not wealthy and thus can’t afford the items but I’m not angry by any means and some of the ideas behind them are great. I do think that maybe soMe of Gwen and goop is a bit contradictory like the fact that she promotes supplements and health but also smokes cigarettes but then again so many of us who do great things also sometimes slip. Like the person who orders the Big Mac at McDonald’s but gets the Diet Coke. Maybe we are all just trying to do what we can for living better and sharing that isn’t wrong and may help. I’m a bit sad your wallet is a G lighter for a b-12 shot that cost $10 but it made you write this so hey kudos to that.

  106. Well, if you weren’t busy before, you now have plenty of reading to do Em! I just wanted to say thank you for being you. You are worth 100 G.Ps. Also that having this dialogue is important to holding public publishers accountable. She may be a nice person but her business is about money and I not sure her persona isn’t just a role she wrote for herself. Let her do her thing but don’t confuse that with letting there be consequences. Just as she can present poorly researched ideas, we are free to present scorn and derision when they are stupid. And let’s all keep the pressure on so her journalistic standards stay high enough people don’t DIE. I don’t need her or GOOP to be charitable or good or avengers for social justice. I don’t need them at all. I do need more blogs like this and Cup of Jo. Grounded, sincere, well rounded and fun. Keep it up.

  107. Not entirely sure you meant “flushed” instead of “fleshed” but considering you took the post down, maybe you did mean to “flush” it…

  108. Oh Emily. Haven’t you heard the line “Maybe she manifested it, maybe it’s white privilege”?

    Being the 40-something, educated, wealthy woman that you are- you should be better and more informed than this. I honestly feel very sad for you and the fact that you so earnestly seem to be going on some spiritual journey that has not even started to scratch the surface of the role that race and economic disparity plays in what we are able to accomplish (or as you put it, “manifest”) in our lives.

    I think you need to seriously look into some of the many brilliant POC writers out there who can teach you a thing or too about what your white skin has been able to manifest for you.

    1. Thank you

  109. Nothing called you out more Emily, than your own words about how you wished and wanted to get around the $1000 entrance fee. You are a wealthy privileged person who was able to write off the fee. So why even complain about it? Your business ended up footing your bill, your privilege. And frankly I found your complaining about the money in very bad taste when you personally aren’t even affected by it. It is again a reflection on your privilege and woe is me attitude. It is this attitude that makes me question your ethics, makes me question my desire to continue to support your business when you don’t see these clear lines drawn.

  110. I’d rather hear more about your experience of the event than criticism Goop. It’s super exciting that you went, and I’d like to hear about that.

    Criticism of goop are kind of BS, like most people have an idea of it but like you said they haven’t tried things or read it and then they spew negative things. Like if people don’t want to steam their vagina, then don’t. That doesn’t mean the whole thing is crap.

    I do agree it seems like they were selling moon dust hard for a while. I tried it finally and it made me want to lie in bed and think about death all day (I’m generally always happy).

    I’m haven’t listened to the podcast, but you’ve inspired me to try it.

  111. Charity and giving is such a personal decision. There are many causes to choose from and different ways to help. I would find it off-putting if Goop had told you to give to a particular charity.. is that what you are saying you wanted to happen?

  112. So many thoughts on this but I’ll sum it up w/ this: if you chose to write an article like this you had better take your time and make damn sure it is well thought out and thoroughly vetted. ESPECIALLY in the the land-mine society we live in, in 2019. The excuse of “I was just to busy and needed to get this done for the tax deduction or comp (or whatever)” doesn’t float, is disingenuous and unprofessional. But mostly; if you don’t understand why the term white-priviledge is so offensive, google it. Maybe it will become more clear to you. I don’t know how you could write this sort of article and not do a little research about the term you repeated again and again and again. Maybe consider staying in your lane…you’ve built a hell of a career on design, not societal issues and self reflection about how “privileged” you are.

  113. I went to a conference this year called Generous Giving. I would LOVE if you went next year and gave your feedback! I left feeling so I spited to give radically! It is not a perfect organization and I don’t like some of the wording on their website, but it was well worth the weekend.

  114. Thought your original post was good – I think we need to have the freedom to say what we feel needs to be said – that’s the key – but preferably without judgement – too many people have too much time on their hands so relish in the opportunity to put others down – as someone in a position to be able to give back i think its our obligation – business is business but happiness comes from giving – if we all Incorporated giving more then the less advantaged would be better off and the those with more would be happier – not that hard really and a win win.

  115. On being a designer – – – I totally get why Emily shares these sorts of “off topic” things with us her audience. Being a designer myself I understand that it’s totally normal to turn the design tools inward.

    On Goop – – – What’s interesting is that it’s not that new… It’s a mainstream version of what’s existed in hippy culture for 50+ years.

    The aspirational class – – – there’s a really good episode of Hidden Brain about this. The episode is called “never go to Vegas”

  116. Here’s how I look at self care. It IS giving back in a way. Especially for moms. Unless you’re taking the time and space to take care of yourself (physically, emotionally, spiritually) you don’t have the energy to give back. Giving back goes far beyond financial exchange. Putting all of your creative energy into being a good mom for the day could be considered giving back. Having a genuine conversation from a place of love with someone at the grocery store could be considered giving back. Money isn’t everything. You never know the ripple effect that those loving gestures will have over time. And if you’re burnt out, overextended, exhausted, bitter and depressed those acts of love don’t happen because there’s nothing to give. So that’s why in some ways I think focusing on self care can be so much more powerful to the world than giving away some money away.

  117. My issue with Goop is that some of the pseudoscience products, namely the Jade eggs and products to be put in the vagina, are dangerous. That’s a fact. It felt like that aspect was glossed over in this post with a short “possibly dangerous” comment. So for me, while I have many other opinions about the brand that draws a line in the sand for me. She’s a very public figure with high influence and she is capitalizing, profiting off dangerous products for women. It’s a public health issue. So furthermore, it frustrates me when other women or men of influence give the brand time in the spotlight (unless it is for the soul purpose of education people in the dangers of the products).

  118. Hi Emily, I haven’t read through all the comments so this may have been said (multiple times) but I truly believe we do our best work, live our best lives and contribute the most productively in life, when we are feeling the best about ourselves and that is one of the things Goop products has done for me. Self-care and self-help summits and programs may seem selfish but ultimately, we cannot take care of others without taking care of ourselves first! I get what you’re saying but I think if the summit had been more diverse, you would’ve felt a little differently. I don’t like going anywhere, even out to dinner, where I’m not amongst other ethnicities and cultures – it doesn’t feel natural. So, while I support your sentiment about wishing they had talked more about helping the community, helping ourselves leads to more stable households, which leads to more stable children, which leads to more stable adults, etc. It starts at home! And for me, washing my face at night with Goop (one of my only splurges), makes me feel like I accomplished something, after battling my 20 month old all day and feeling like it’s the only 5 minutes I’ve allowed to take care of myself.

  119. The fact that ‘we’, and this includes me, are all reading this, spending our own precious hours judging Emily, Gwyneth and each other is maybe what we really should be contemplating. I knew nothing about Goop until reading this so the little that I now know makes me wonder why it’s seen any differently than any of the other ‘luxury’ brand. I am by no means ‘this kind of wealthy’ but there are MANY luxury brands for all sorts of products and service and what ‘good things’ do they do? Maybe we should spend more time doing our best with our own lives, stop judging ourselves and others and if we feel strongly about something actually take action. If we can’t or won’t take action for whatever reason just move/scroll on.

    1. Amen, sister! Everyone doesn’t have to like/follow/buy from every company. No one company will get the support from every person. No one company can meet the needs of every person. Every response on here is simply a reflection of what’s going on inside the mind and heart of the person commenting. It actually has NOTHING to do with GOOP or Gwyneth.
      Besides that we have no idea what they talk about in their marketing meetings so we really don’t know what’s behind all of it. It’s a very dangerous practice to make assumptions about others when you don’t have all the facts.

  120. I have to admit, before I got to your additional thoughts at the end, I was thinking “Why did people flip out about this?”. And then it got it.
    As someone very much not in the wealthy elite, who used to really relate and resonate with you, it was super interesting to read this in the light of my own feelings watching your journey over the last few years. I can usually no longer afford your recommended products- especially the clothes (sometimes I laugh out loud when I see that cute jumpsuit you’re wearing is $400+).
    However, I am genuinely happy for you and your success. So what if I can’t relate? It’s funny though, because I have the same fear/judgement of the elite that you talk about- and the guilt of having more than I was raised with. Even though I am still FIRMLY middle class (on the lower end probably), at 30, I’ve already accomplished more financially than my parents did for most of my upbringing. I have nice things and no debt besides my mortgage. I’m immensely privileged.
    The thing that gets me the most about “influencers” (which I think in and of itself is a trigger word for many people- myself included), is that it’s its own insulated bubble. Also, LA seems like a completely different planet than most of the rest of the country. For me, it’s entertaining to follow these people who seem oblivious to the “real” world.
    I always rolled my eyes about Gwyneth until I listened to her interview on Armchair Expert. Like you said, she’s actually really down to earth and seems very real. She’s never known a life less privileged, and it’s asking a lot to expect someone in her position to authentically relate to someone not rich and powerful. How could she know how?
    I can never understand what it would be like to want for my basic necessities. And of course, part of having privilege is making yourself proximate to people different than you and listening and learning from them, and using your privilege however you can to help people.
    I think if they had made the summit charitable in some way, it would have reeked of disingenuous motives. “Look at us being selfless!”. I hate boastful giving (and am a firm believer in the anonymous gift)- so again, maybe that would have just triggered me and not others?

    Wow… didn’t mean to write a novel over here. All of that is to say, keep doing you. It’s hard to slog through all of these thoughts sometimes and you’re so brave for doing with the world watching.

    Xx

  121. I like your thoughts on Goop and the post. I’m not so sure about your definition of “functional doctor” though. My chiropractor is a functional doctor. He has a degree as a chiropractor (from here in the states) and another degree in eastern medicine. He does not have a MD. Did you mean eastern medical PhD? You wrote “It’s a doctor with a western medical Ph.D.” Just confused on this point.

    1. There is a type of doctor called a ‘functional medicine’ doctor. I knew that not using that actual title would confuse people (it’s not a super common thing yet) but I’m pretty sure that’s what Emily is referring to. They’re meant to replace your GP, have a western medical degree but typically also an interest in/studies with alternative and holistic medicinal practices. the idea is that they’re supposed to treat your whole body and the causes underlying varying symptoms instead of just treating symptoms as they pop up. So it’s a more holistic approach to getting you to feel better and examining potential causes for sometimes seemingly unrelated ailments (think – skin condition and stomach troubles). They also tend to do tons more tests to really examine all the stuff that’s going on in your body and bloodwork. If you have lingering issues that don’t have a straightforward answer or have been told ‘everything’s fine’ when you go to a GP (or endocrinologist, for example – a lot of people just get the one thyroid test but there are others that show other endocrine issues) it’s an option! I’m no great expert, I have simply visited one and found it helpful for me personally.

  122. Honestly, I did not know much about the brand (outside of purchasing a few products). I still don’t have a strong opinion on Goop/GP, but the conversation created in the comments below (shout out to Danielle) is both thought provoking and surprising to find at EHD. So whether intentional, or not, thank you for keeping your original post and hosting a space for healthy discourse.

    1. I agree- thank you Emily, for providing this space for conversation. Thank you EVERYONE for all you comments and POV. I can’t believe I read through them all, but I did. Thank you Danielle, esp. for your thoughts about normalization ( where is your blog?); it was amazing how many insights came up as a result of this one post. Yes, it does seem odd that this came up on a design blog, but I also liked the comment – from I don’t remember the name!- that sometimes we turn those design urges inward.

  123. Thank you for this, I am starting to move into Goop’s demographic and I am not sure how to feel about it (successful, lucky, privileged, like a stereotype???). You captured it all in this post, I try to be introspective and respectful of my privilege but also live a full happy life, and no those aren’t mutually exclusive. Anyways, thanks for the post. Totally curious question- what is in that 20 lb goody bag?????? Please post the gift bag!!!!

    1. Dear Natalie, If you are moving into the Goop demographic then consider how you will use your influence, power, and privilege for good.

    2. Dear Emily, This article will help you to understand what white privilege is.

      https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/fall-2018/what-is-white-privilege-really

  124. I have been a follower of Emily’s Instagram and blog for a while and this was a disappointing post for me. I’m less disappointed about the Goop brand or Emily’s buy in to Goop than I am disappointed in the seeming defense of privilege. I commend Emily wanting to do more with the privilege she has to better our society and the free design advice and works he puts in go a long way to making these things accessible to people that might otherwise not have a way to pay an interior designer. From my perspective she has a long way to go. This entire post (not matter how many edits it goes through) is a mistake from my perspective. It’s a defense of privilege. The entire thing defends her privilege. While it does ask some questions about what these women can do to use that privilege to help, that in itself is the flawed logic. Asking “what can I do with my privilege” is only a first step and works on the assumption that “rich white lady privilege” is ok as long as you’re reflecting about it. Let me make it clear: privilege is a PROBLEM, not a tool to use for the greater good. I’d love to see Emily take herself to a more inclusive retreat instead of talking about how she was embarrassed to be in a room full of rich white ladies because they are all so rich and white. Sure, go the Goop summit if you want, but using a VERY public platform to defend privilege and turn into something positive is a big problem for me. I’m hopeful that she will see the flawed logic because I enjoy her blog very much.

  125. Yesterday, when I saw the picture at the top of the this post, I was disappointed. It seems that we as a society are grappling with how to establish a basis for a discussion of how we can get better outcomes for everyone and there are many people and organizations who are exploiting this situation to make a profit. It’s frustrating to observe and I don’t want to contribute to this dynamic by giving time and attention to those who are profiting from it. Just because scientific practices are under scrutiny, that does not mean that it is preferable to reject the power of science to generate useful insights in favor of conspiracy theories and pseudoscience.

    When I saw that the original post was back up today, I started reading and was thinking about my general feeling that those who have (say those who would not struggle to come up with $400 in an emergency) are blinded to the fact that so many people struggle. Of course, the fortunate are aware that the less fortunate exist, I am just not sure that they realize that at least half of all Americans do not have financial security. When this is the case, it is imperative to ask why this is the case. Some of the answers we hear are insufficient. I believe we need to be asking ourselves how can we change our economy so that the majority of the people have financial security. We will have to change how business is conducted.

    As it stands now, with digitization, there is a winner take all phenomenon that leads to one person at the top being able to earn lots and many others barely able to survive. I think that it is very difficult for the rich to truly grapple with the consequences of this situation and so it necessarily make sense to single out one person or company for having this blindspot.

    However, i do not think it makes sense criticize yourself for pointing out that a person or organization reinforces a tendency toward self-centeredness. What if, instead, everyone who is not suffering the negative impacts of not having enough money took it for granted that purpose is found in ensuring that everyone has enough. I’ve always believed that this should be the focus in life, but most people I encounter don’t share this approach to life,.

  126. Goop mindset and products always seemed to be a “high” designed version of what pre-existed in Mom/ Pop Healthfood stores and Yogaesque/new age self help books. All which have been around for decades. Many west coasters gravitate towards this lifestyle, so it seemed kind of inevitable that a wealthy business woman would give it her spin, and market it to her people. The only thing which has bothered me about the brand is that its fame/infamy has framed many of these ideas or products as elite. In reality many of the products come from sources that have been around/used for centuries, and you can find a reasonably priced twin at your well versed neighborhood health food store. At least I was able to, and Im hardly wealthy. (Aside from vagina steaming), this is not elite stuff. Modern medicine and traditional doctors are important and certainly have their place. But a lot of these alternatives, have been used in treating humans for 1000s of years, and still work. So thats my issue, is that the conversation whenever Goop comes up is that its been modern medicine or alternatives, the elite or the poor, when it really shouldnt be so divisive. I fear their brand language might be harming what was originally quite harmless/even helpful, overall.

  127. It kills me, every time.

    Blog/Instagram post on:
    *Family
    *Fashion/Beauty
    *Lifestyle
    *Holiday/Veterans/MLK, etc.

    Response: Approval or no protest.

    Blog/Instagram post on a controversial subject:

    Response: WHY ARE YOU POSTING ABOUT SOMETHING NON-HOME DESIGN RELATED??? WE DON’T COME HERE FOR THAAAAAAT…

    1. After reading through 300+ comments, I can say with reasonable confidence that EHD has a community that includes some wonderful and thoughtful readers, as well as some individuals who I doubt live their life (and run a successful business under their own name) in full alignment with the egalitarian and altruistic principles they so harshly take EH to task about.

      Put up or shut up is my only response to them.

      1. I agree, people somehow feel emboldened to tell people how they should run their personal and professional lives. Emily certainly seems like a genuine person who wants only good for people and seems like a great employer to a seemingly diverse staff. She’s not required to save the world; the expectations of some of the commenters seem more about their own need to morally grandstand.

        1. Also, the feel good flash makeovers are a huge contribution. I do admire you, Emily for your thoughtfulness and self- reflection in this post.

      2. Trying to understand what “Put up or shut up” means other than shut up. Are you asking people to include their professions when they comment? I’m sure there are a lot of social workers, inner-city teachers, business owners who prioritize diversity and social justice in their hiring and sourcing practices, social entrepreneurs, socially-responsible investors, and activists who read this blog. Let me rephrase that: I *know* they read this blog.

        As far as why people don’t like it when bloggers talk about controversial issues, perhaps it’s because there is already a lot of noise on these issues that doesn’t seem to advance the conversation and certainly doesn’t bring about any change in the power structures. Endless posts on lifestyle, etc. are harmless. If the reader isn’t interested, they just keep scrolling. By contrast, just one post on a topic of actual import has the capacity to be harmful. It can leave people feeling unheard and disconnected; it can advance dangerous apologetics; it can spread misinformation; it can normalize things that shouldn’t be normalized. (To be clear, this is only in response to “it kills me every time,” NOT a critique of EH specifically.)

        Censorship is bad. But I think a lot of us who either feel disenfranchised or who are deeply involved and invested in issues of equity and justice (in our jobs for example), can’t help but wish for self-censorship on the part of those who have “un-fleshed out” understandings of the issues and even of their own roles within the larger systems of those issues.

        There are a lot of really intelligent people speaking to these issues with clarity of purpose, a wide range of knowledge, and a life experience to which they’ve given a significant amount of reflection. Why not find those links and promote them on your blog? This would be contributing to the conversation. Instead of dabbling and babbling, it would encouraging the community to be reading and thinking. And it would signify a more good-faith effort towards personal growth and awareness.

        1. 🙌🏾

          Great comment. Awesome suggestion!

  128. Totally not meant in a bullying way, but it’s “flesh out”, not “”flush out.” I don’t think I realized this till I was close to 40.

    1. thanks – for all the talk of wealth and privilege, I wish the more successful bloggers would use a few dollars to hire copy editors.

  129. Now, Part II Comment: I think most experts agree that “giving back” or being altruistic is one of the best ways to feel self-fulfilled, so that would/should 100% be part of this health summit. Also, since living in LA for 2 months (and it’s not like I’m a country bumpkin) I am AMAZED at how some of my smartest friends can attach themselves to a fad so friggin’ quickly. Organic celery is currently depleted in the South Bay.

  130. I can’t believe you had to do a second post about this…not everyone is going to like or agree with everyone 100% of the time so can we just move on!

  131. Hi Emily,
    I wonder if you have any podcast or book recommendations about connecting with and helping your community?
    Thank you!

  132. I love that you’re prepared to discuss difficult topics. I read the GOOP post when it was first up, thought about commenting then decided not to wade into it.

    Most of us are born into some kind of privilege. That’s just how it is, and we didn’t ask for it, but we profit from it. Your willingness to reflect and question your place in society is what, in my opinion, makes you so admirable. You’re not perfect, few of us are, but you’re trying. You’re coming from a place of kindness and I appreciate that!

    Interior design and privilege are always going to be linked. If you’re buying something for its aesthetics rather than pure function, you probably have more resources than you need. But that’s okay! There’s value in making the world more beautiful.

  133. Alright, I’m wading in: crystals do not have science backing them. We don’t know if they have healing properties – sure, they might, but they also might not. What we DO know is that they’re usually mined in unethical and environmentally damaging ways. The workers suffer, the land suffers, so that privileged people can convince themselves they have special access to some good vibes.

    The Guardian published a great article recently covering this issue: https://www.theguardian.com/global/2019/jun/16/are-crystals-the-new-blood-diamonds-the-truth-about-muky-business-of-healing-stones

  134. Hey Emily, check out the Successful MInd podcast. It’s really insightful. Also, leaving a comment on here is hard because the page is constantly loading.

  135. To be honest, I only read the article because I knew the comments section would be amazing to read. Boy was I right. I was a little shocked, that you admit to only buying a ticket since you could right it off and right a post about the conference. Gwyneth is not someone I would go to for advice, but it takes all kinds to make the world go round.

  136. Wow, I can’t believe I’ve read through all the comments! Happy to see some people highlight the problems around Goop and would like to reinforce one of the criticisms. The thing is, Goop is a big business and as such is primarily concerned with amassing money, not with its even distribution (real, practical “wellness”, as evidenced by some of the health workers here who witnessed others not having enough money to buy the most basic medication, for example). I agree with some of the commenters who said that this leads to a bigger class/financial divide and in consequence to populist politicians like Donald Trump exploiting the divide; and that we need to overhaul the whole system. Indeed Goop is like Chanel or Rolex – selling luxury and my critique of them is the same – if you are a big company, you have a big moral responsibility of giving back to the community. Which most of them don’t, really.

  137. Wow, I can’t believe I’ve read through all the comments! Happy to see some people highlight the problems around Goop and would like to reinforce one of the criticisms. The thing is, Goop is a big business and as such is primarily concerned with amassing money, not with its even distribution (real “wellness”). I agree with some of the commenters who said that this leads to a bigger class/financial divide and in consequence to populist politicians like Donald Trump exploiting the divide; and that we need to overhaul the whole system. Indeed Goop is like Chanel or Rolex – selling luxury and my critique of them is the same – if you are a big company, you have a big moral responsibility of giving back to the community. Which most of them don’t, really. And that’s how we end up with a small group of people owning half of the world’s capital.

  138. I had my son feel better about himself by having him volunteer once to twice a week at a local charitable organization of his choice. I also promised to join him. Let me start by telling you that I am a divorced single parent and a secretary, so no wealth here. For a year we worked at the shelter serving meals and for three more years, we worked at an animal shelter cleaning cages and taking dogs for a walk. After that we helped out in our synagogue. All to say, I think that this helped make us “whole” people and get a better perspective on the world. It also strengthened our relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I take care of myself – i do yoga along with utube every morning and eat healthy foods. So far, life is good. Goop can’t top that.

  139. I’m so late to the commenting bandwagon, I may as well be shouting into the void, but here goes… I was a longtime devotee of GP and GOOP from the start. I loved those first amateur newsletters, like a windfall of random tips from my secret celebrity BFF. I realize it’s a completely different business model today, but there’s nothing personal about it anymore. It’s sad to delete dozens of unread GOOP emails when I used to pore over every detail. I enjoy the podcast from time to time, but there’s a tone-deafness that rubs me the wrong way. Case in point, an interview with Stella McCartney devoted to the importance of sustainability when GP is never seen wearing the same outfit twice. Maybe if she consigned her actual clothing on GOOP, I’d start reading it again.

  140. Emily, what if you helped organize a conference or blog posts or a podcast or videos or something about how privileged women/people can give back to others? How to get more connected and address systemic change? About changes we can make in our lives or demand of policy makers? You have a heart for this, an understanding of it, and a compelling voice. You’d be so good at it. And I’d definitely listen.

  141. After many years of following/reading blogs I have really scaled back recently, but I still come and read EHD posts regularly. And here is why: it is the honesty and humility in which you post, in particular of hot button topics. That you aren’t afraid to pull something back you don’t feel 100% about. I think that shows such integrity. I don’t have a opinion on way or another about Goop as a brand or GP at its helm. I haven’t purchased anything Goop or listened to he podcast (although I may start) but I see nothing wrong with her using her platform to help people help themselves. But regardless of the discussion at hand I applaud you guys for being so entirely genuine in the content you provide.

  142. Emily your energy & enthusiasm for objects and spaces that evoke story and make people and families (and friends too) want to feel peace or gather for love and belonging has always been the perfect why behind your business. Or at least I have taken this in as a why. We love seeing the creative capacities from you and those on your staff.

    The epic number of comments and your follow up plus keeping the original post up shows you are GENUINE and you have struck a nerve that is timely and where we need civil, longer face-to-face conversation…CA doesn’t have enough affordable housing allowing for people at all income levels easy commutes for work (which is a key ingredient for self-care and wellness). We don’t have quality education, housing, childcare, and healthcare for all. Having the right income…you can pull away from the pack in all of these categories. Wealth of parents is most predictive of wealth of children in this country. And if you are in the bottom 5-10%, there’s very little likelihood you will see economic mobility in your life.

    And as folks gather for this Goop event, we live in country where we say people fleeing crisis to our border should have their children separated from them to deter others. In parallel with the Goop event, we — all of us — (not them) are causing harm to 13,000 kids at the border. We can’t look away and focus on our own higher end wellness options.

    So, I leave you with two thoughts: 1) when you are on the hamster wheel of modern capitalistic growth of your business (listen to your heart and pay attention to inflection points where you have your lost your joy and ability to have an inner life/dialogue — the triggers you got at the event are real signals to pay attention to and may not just be about your fear. 2) giving is OXYGEN….I don’t know the math of all your business, but keep transforming spaces for those who don’t have privilege…,hey, why not a transform a block where people struggle., They say humility leads to us seeing the humanity in others. You are on the right path even if you think your post was sloppy.

  143. Love this post, Emily. Thanks so much for your honesty! I, for one, am amazed at how polarizing GP and GOOP have become. I don’t follow her podcast or buy any of her products because I simply can’t afford it so I don’t take the time. I do, however, admire GP’s tenacity in getting her message out even though she has been mocked, ridiculed and misunderstood. With all of my health issues–and I’ve had more than a few–I’ve always had better results with naturopaths and energy healers than with traditional Western medicine. I still use Western medicine when the situation calls for it but they definitely do not have all of the answers, and I just wish that people would be more open-minded about it all–like Emily is–instead of being so quick to judge and immediately calling it pseudo-science.

  144. Just came across another justice issue to think about here: I’m listening to Here to Slay by Roxane Gay and Dr. Tressie McMillan Cottam. Tressie is an author, professor, expert in her field and speaks across the country. This very conference invited her to speak but did not offer any compensation. Soooo basically they were asking her to offer expertise from the black feminist perspective to a bunch of white ladies FOR FREE. Yeah! Not sure how much more we need to know to say Shut This Thing Down.

  145. White privilege is a term purely for the bored bourgeois woman. This phraseology serves as the lazy substitute for real thinking. My hope is for Gen Z to come along and make you realize how silly you look and how malignant your ideas are before all of this racist, bigoted speech coming from your generation leads to actual violence.

    1. I swear the only people that get angry about the term white privilege are privileged white women. What part about it gets you so up in arms? It’s far from racist, since white people are, in fact, white and are, in fact, privileged. It’s also not bigoted in any way. Perhaps you haven’t looked up the term and really read what it means from a place of calmness and willingness to learn. You should probably do so.

  146. I must admit ( ( Robinson.buckler (@) Yahoo. com ) ) is really a genuine man when it comes to getting ex lover back, he brought my lover back, he also cure all kind of sickness with his herbal remedy, try him out and you will be amazed ………………………………YEEEAAASSS!!!👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

  147. I appreciate the post and repost.
    A correction and a comment:
    Homeopathic (Western) Doctors get MDs, not PHD’s to treat patients. If a physician has a MD and PhD, they are most likely working primarily in a lab.
    Try the Podcast “For the Love”. It is full of little nuggets that would bring anyone closer to their spiritual side.

  148. In your original post you were asking very intelligent questions. From an activist person of color’s perspective, I hear you and a self-help brand, company and conference has a great opportunity/platform to give back (also love that thought you shared about charity acting as a cover up for corporations’ actions). The fact that Goop doesn’t give is problematic and you were calling that out. Who better than you, a person from the demographic Goop targets, to call them out? Also the insanity of people who shout down others who say the American Health System is not working for me, so I am trying some alternative/ancient paths to try and heal myself is disappointing. Prescribing medicine to cover up symptoms and not heal the actual person/disease is not the only way to go in life. Peace 💛

  149. Admittedly, I have never been to the GOOP site –and after reading a NYT article a while back about Gwyneth’s being one of the women that women most love to hate — I doubt I ever will. Gwyneth said in that article that she could care less about the haters — as long as they are looking at her site she gets the last laugh by “monetizing their eyeballs.” It made me think she really is in it for the money. And, unfortunately, like our current President, the more polarizing the content — the more internet traffic to her social media accounts. I refuse to participate in that game.

  150. Dana here-
    I’m a social scientist and program director for a local AIDS and HIV organization. When it comes to Goop- I have the same feelings for Gwen as I do the Kardashians. That the argument that they get heat for being women is deeply rooted in second wave feminism. Goop has an entire image of whiteness and aspiring to values so white- that they’re actually colonized from Black and Brown cultures across the globe. Cultures that her brand uses for profit and never even mentions nor donates to.
    Emily,
    I’ve been a fan of yours for a long time and I support you on this journey. Your feelings are valid. I will say to listen to the voice screaming at you – you’re saying your looking so hard thru self help books and figuring out your “why” when you so clearly described it. It sounds like your way to help yourself is to look at using your platform to do some SERIOUS good. I don’t know what that looks like but something tells me you might!
    (This reminds me of Grave Bonneys tipping point.)

  151. Glad you posted what you did the FIRST time–it resulted in a learning experience! Thank you for your honesty and introspection!

  152. You kept referencing how controversial this post had been so I finally read it (I don’t have strong feelings either way about GP or Goop and wasn’t aware that could be a thing). Emily, I wouldn’t worry that much about all this. It’s just beauty products and a celebrity. Who really has the time and money?

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